06/24/13 11:30am
06/24/2013 11:30 AM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Edna Wagner of Riverhead celebrates her centennial birthday next Friday, June 21.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Edna Wagner of Riverhead turned 100 on June 21.

Decked out in clip-on earrings and a gold imprinted blouse, a petite Edna Wagner laughed as she recalled memories of her past.

And what a past it has been.

Ms. Wagner turned 100 years old Friday, a feat she says is “no big deal.”

“100 is nothing,” she scoffed, noting her great grandmother lived to be 106.

“People worry too much about age,” she added.

Ms. Wagner was born in England on June 21, 1913, and lived there until about the end of World War II.

She drove an ambulance during the war, and detailed to a reporter one incident that changed her life.  While helping a mother and child out of a rubble-filled basement, bombs began to rain down.

“I was stuck up to my waist in concrete,” Ms. Wagner said.

She passed out and remembered waking up in a hospital.

“They said I’d never walk,” Ms. Wager said. “I am a very determined person.”

She did walk again, and a few years later her future husband, a man named Arthur Wagner, knocked her off her feet — literally.

“He knocked me down,” Ms. Wagner laughed of that chance meeting. “He was coming out of a pub.”

She had been walking with a cane at that point.

“I went down on the floor, naturally,” she said, and he helped her and took her home, taking a bus to make sure she was all right.

While at home, she recalled, she tended to a scrape from the fall, and returned to Mr. Wagner to find him sitting in front of a fire with her father. They were both drinking a scotch.

“My father really and truly liked Arthur,” Ms. Wager said.

The later married and moved to the United States.

She recalled traveling by boat, crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth II. The trip took five-days.

The couple eventually opened an ice cream shop, not far from their Queens home, but took frequent vacations to the East End, an area they fell in love with.

“My idea was to get out to Long Island as soon as I could,” Ms. Wagner said.

The couple moved to Riverhead in 1998. Mr. Wagner died in April. The two were married for 67 years.

“We were so much in love,” Ms. Wagner said. “We were very fortunate it doesn’t happen very often.”

She spends her time now talking with friends, and is active with her church.

And even at 100, Ms. Wagner still enjoys a Tanqueray and tonic everyday at noon.

“It is very important to relax,” Ms. Wagner said, and a great substitute for an English afternoon tea.

cmiller@timesreview.com

04/15/13 9:00am
04/15/2013 9:00 AM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Longtime Riverhead resident Edward Mickaliger turned 100 Monday.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Longtime Riverhead resident Edward Mickaliger turned 100 Monday.

Edward Mickaliger has been keeping active all his life. It’s the eve of his 100th birthday and though he’s bound to a wheelchair, he has barely lost a step.

Mr. Mickaliger — he goes by Eddie — is a Riverheader, born and raised. He was born in a farmhouse on Doctor’s Path on April 15, 1913 and grew up in a house near Merritts Pond, between Ostrander and Roanoke avenues, with his father, mother, six brothers and a sister.

The siblings would work in the daytime cutting grass and helping on the farm; at night he and his brothers would sneak out and go fishing in the pond, he said. In the winter, the pond would freeze over.

“We’d pull the ice skates out and have some fun,” he said.

The second-oldest of his siblings, Mr. Mickaliger served as a sergeant in the 29th Infantry of the U.S. Army during World War II, he said. Three of his brothers also served in the military.

He breezes over his time in the service in conversation, casually saying he was injured by shrapnel before moving on to other matters. It’s a long life, after all, and he wants get through to all of it.

After getting home from the war, he joined the Riverhead Fire Department as a firefighter on the Reliable hose and engine company No. 1 with his father and siblings. He worked first for a grocery store, then at the Carl and Bob’s clothing store in downtown Riverhead.

He tells his family that he “went from selling fruit to Fruit of the Loom.” In his free time, he joined the East End Surf Club and loved fishing with his siblings.

Mr. Mickaliger married once, but never had children.

He still keeps busy. His stay in the nursing home is a new — and temporary — measure, he says. Mr. Mickaliger was outside this winter helping a neighbor by shoveling their driveway when he got frostbite, family members said.

He’s been at the nursing home ever since, slowly recovering.

Dozens of family members turned out to wish him happy birthday Sunday afternoon at the nursing home. They laid out a cake on the table, and handed out cookies.

Amidst the celebrations they asked him what he’d like to drink.

“Scotch and water,” he joked.

psquire@timesreview.com

02/20/13 7:00am
02/20/2013 7:00 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Winifred Riches of Laurel was joined by her great niece Sarah Cassidy and niece Una Cassidy Tuesday afternoon to celebrate her 100th birthday.

To celebrate her centennial birthday, Winifred Riches of Laurel gathered with her “bridge crew” to recall some of her favorite memories over the past 100 years. Her niece, Una Cassidy, and great niece, Sarah Cassidy, traveled from Belfast, Ireland to celebrate.

“She always talks about how she lost her hat the day World War II ended,” Sarah Cassidy said. “She lost it when they all threw them up to celebrate.”

Mrs. Riches was in Manhattan on Aug. 14, 1945 when President Harry Truman announced the war had ended. Her soon to be husband, Thomas Riches, served in the war.

Mrs. Riches was born in Northern Ireland Feb. 19, 1913, and immigrated to Canada at age 17 to help her father with work. She eventually moved to New York City where she met her late husband. The couple, who never had any children, retired to Laurel over 42 years ago to enjoy time by the water and on the golf course — a few of Mrs. Riches’ favorite pastimes.

“She is a wonderful lady. She is charismatic and loves God,” said Comfort Amissah, Mrs. Riches’ live-in aid.  “She taught me how to play golf in the garden.”

Although she can’t make it to the course these days, she still plays bridge every Monday night, Mrs. Riches said.

“She’s capable and able,” Sarah Cassidy said. “She did everything, and she took care of her husband.”

Sarah Cassidy recalled how her great aunt and uncle ended up in their Laurel home more than four decades earlier.

Mrs. Riches was searching for a retirement destination. Her husband said, “Now don’t you go buying a house.” She came back and said, “I bought a plot,” Sarah Cassidy joked.

Mrs. Riches home today sits on that very same plot.

cmiller@timesreview.com