This week, NY1 is focusing on New Yorkers who hit the century mark this year. Staten Island’s Betty Kowalski spent time with NY1’s Cheryl Wills to talk about her long life.
It's been a swell ride for Betty Kowalski .
"I had a good life, thank God, hope it doesn't change,” Kowalski said, laughing.
Laughter comes easy for Betty Kowalski, who turned 100 on the day before the Fourth of July.
Woodrow Wilson was President when she was born in Stapleton.
She walks for exercise and while she has no secret for her longevity, she does have a thing for cauliflower.
“Yeah I still eat cauliflower, I love it, I cream it, I butter it,” she said.
She still lives alone at 100 and doesn't go to the doctor and doesn't take any medications.
She got colon cancer when she was 91.
Doctors removed the tumor and she refused chemotherapy or radiation. She takes a licking, but keeps on ticking.
"I always thought I'd be lucky if I hit 50, no I never no, but I'm taking it as long as it comes,” she said.
She went to PS 14 and graduated from Curtis High School in 1930. She married the man of her dreams during the height of World War II. John Kowalski came home on leave and they had a fabulous wedding. When he returned, they remained married for 54 enchanting years.
"Did you ever see me as a bride? You never did, come here. I want you to see how once I was young.”
She has two children, six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She hopes her good luck will rub off on future generations.
With a razor sharp memory, she remembers the Depression, her first television set and even her favorite dance, the Peabody. She was the cat's meow back then and for her, 100 is the new 80.
“Geez, I guess I lived a little huh?” she said.
Just a little.