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NY1's Cheryl Wills looks at New Yorkers who hit the century mark this year in her week-long series.

NY100: Harlem’s ‘Mother Brown’ Keeps Going Into Her Next Century

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She wrote her first book at the age of 97 and she talks frankly about a her wild young life in night clubs. Now that Beulah Turner-Brown is 100 years old, the devout Christian from Harlem has been an inspiration to generations of foster children. Cheryl Willis filed the following report.

Beulah Turner-Brown's memory is sharp as a tack.

"I was in love with this particular fella and I felt that was the only man on God's green earth,” said Turner-Brown.

At 100, she vividly remembers the pain of lost loves and how she once turned the other cheek when she got ripped off.

"$10,000 would not last him through eternity, that's chump change with God,” she said.

She's known by thousands throughout New York City as “Mother Brown,” a devout Christian missionary who “keeps it real.”

She wrote her first book at the tender age of 97. In her autobiography, "From Rags to Riches,” she talks about how smoked and drank like a fish and how reading the “good book” changed her life.

In her younger days, she was a regular in ballrooms where she partied hard to the sounds of her favorite bandleader.

“Cab Calloway,” she said, laughing.

Her quick wit is what makes her a darling among her fellow church members, who sang her praises at her 100th birthday party in Harlem.

Never having children of her own, she has been a mother to dozens of foster children and adopted seven of them. Born in North Carolina, this daughter of a sharecropper came to Harlem in 1939 when car fare was a nickel. She doesn't have a secret to her longevity, but she refuses prescription medication even though her doctor says she has a weak heart.

"Sometimes I can feel my heart when it slows up and I say okay, ‘let's get going,’” she said.

And that's Mother Brown's motto: keep going. She drove until she was 97 and reluctantly gave up the car keys.

"I know when you reach a certain age, they take your license, so I didn't give them a chance to take mine, I turned it in,” she said.
There's no special diet for Mother Brown, she eats everything from Pork Chops to steak and when she cut her pink and white birthday cake, even she was surprised that she made it this far.

“I never dreamed I'd live to be 100 years old,” she said. “I know God has left me here for a reason. I know it.”

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