By DANNY RESTIVO
Oscar Ghirardi has lived through two world wars, prohibition, the Great Depression and 14 U.S. presidents. After experiencing some of the world’s most pivotal moments, the spry centenarian said he has one secret to his longevity:
“Just regular living.”
The Sharon native turns 103 today at Liberty Arms Assisted Living, where he will be accompanied by his wife, Emma, 96. The couple have been married 74 years and moved into the assisted living center 15 months ago.
Dianna Kern, a resident-care coordinator at Liberty Arms, said she seen the couple every day, but Oscar is the social butterfly between the two.
“He’s never in his room,” said Kern. “He’s always socializing.”
Oscar said he likes to play cards, Wii bowl and walk around outside. He also likes reading the newspaper and staying on top of the recent presidential debates. He
believes John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt would do a better job than the current candidates.
“They both beat each other up, so you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.
Oscar has two children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. On Sunday, his daughter, Loretta Pettola of Hubbard, will celebrate his birthday with them. She said the reason for her father’s longevity is his energy.
“He’s always been up and at it,” she said.
Pettola said she can remember her father often bowling and constantly working on the house.
“He was never one to slow down,” she said.
Oscar said he began working as a welder at Westinghouse in Sharon, Pa., during the Great Depression, making 28 cents an hour.
It was during this time that he met Emma at a dance in Farrell, Pa., he said. He can remember dancing to Duke Ellington, Guy Lombardo and Cab Calloway when they first met.
“Back then you got all slicked up and danced with a girl all night,” he said. “It’s not like the dancing today.”
Since 1938, Emma has spent 74 birthdays with her husband. She said she’s not going to buy him anything this year, but he may get a sign of affection.
“He will probably get a kiss on the cheek,” she said.