Diet, hobbies contribute to life after 90

On June 26, I observed my 93rd birthday, something I never thought would happen since I believed it was out of reach. Only one of my close relatives ever became a nonagenarian. People ask to what I attribute this milestone. I really don’t know – maybe luck of the Italians.

I have eaten a Mediterranean diet all my life featuring spaghetti and pasta and very little meat and great northern beans with pasta and spaghetti sauce. Generally weekly, without fail, I like to leave the table still hungry, due to my starvation regimen of the Great Depression.

I like to think I have been dodging bullets all my life, like diphtheria and scarlet fever of Great Depression days. My 3- year-old sister died from diphtheria, and I almost kicked the bucket from the scarlet fever scourge.

On the heels of the Great Depression, I survived 33 months in World War II in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre, two typhoons that almost sunk our U.S.S. LST 582 ship and a Japanese Kamikaze (suicide plane) that dived directly at my 20mm anti-aircraft gun station and missed my gun, me and my two gunner’s mates. It was no higher than a telephone pole.

I also survived the D-Day invasions of Luzon, Philippine Islands and Okinawa.

Our Mahoning Valley is fortunate to have great doctors, dentists, nurses, etc., and at my age super caregivers. I feel my major hobbies have contributed to my milestone, such as photography, gardening, garage sales and, last but not least, writing.

As my oldest grandson Michael Krieger often relates, “My Grandpa Michael Lacivita is going to leave his grandchildren a legacy of wisdom – not money.

Michael J. Lacivita is a Youngstown retiree and member of the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

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