103 years ago.
The year was 1907.
Albert Einstein is beginning to apply the laws of gravity to his Theory of Relativity. Oklahoma is waiting to become the 46th state. Henry Ford unveils his Model R car, complete with fenders over the tires and oil lamps for lights.
And here in Switzerland County, Stella Romans Bennett was born.
Last Friday, September 4th, Stella celebrated her 103rd birthday at the Swiss Villa Living & Rehabilitation Center.
Because of restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Stella celebrated the occasion with her son and daughter-in-law and daughter and son-in-law under the carport at Swiss Villa, the family getting a short time together using health precautions.
“She was born here in Switzerland County, one of 14 kids,” son Gordon Bennett said. “She’s the last one left. She was a Romans.”
Stella wasn’t the youngest of the 14 children, but she’s outlived all of them.
“She has buried all of her brothers and sisters; all her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law,” daughter Janet Kent said. “She had a son die of cancer; and a daughter and granddaughter and grandson. A son-in-law. A daughter-in-law. A father-in-law. We asked her what the bad thing was about living so long, and she said she’d looked down into too many caskets.”
The Bennett family lived in the Quercus Grove area, with Stella and husband Stanley raising their family.
“They also lived on Pike Street here in Vevay,” Gordon said of his parents. “Mom worked at the Shoe Factory. She retired in 1976.”
Stella moved to Swiss Villa on St. Patrick’s Day of 2014, and still enjoys all of her fellow residents.
“She knew everyone in here and visited everyone before she was in here,” Janet said. “After dad died (in 1997) she moved to Switzer Square before she came here.”
So does she feel like she’s 103?
“Sometimes yes,” Stella said, surrounded by her family. “They feed us good here. I like it. I’m blessed with having my family and my health.”