Caron reflects on 104 years of life

Caron reflects on 104 years of life

Madeline Caron, who resides at The Holiday in Lincoln, has turned 104 years young.

LINCOLN – The secret to living a long and happy life, according to 104-year-old Madeline E. Caron, is to always be kind.

“You’ve got to be an agreeable person,” she said. “If you don’t get along with people, you might as well kick it right away.”

Sitting at her retirement home, The Holiday, beside her daughter Christine Squallicci and son-in-law Peter, Caron took some time to reflect on the last 104 years of her life.

Imparting some advice on the younger generations, she said, “Be interested in other people. Don’t only be interested in yourself. Listen to what people have to say.”

Caron said she never imagined she’d be turning 104, but she’s “thankful she did.”

“And look who’s with me,” she said, glancing at her daughter and son-in-law. “I love a wonderful daughter and son-in-law. I have no complaints on my family.”

Caron was born in Illinois, the first of two daughters. Her sister, who is two years her minor, was born the same year Caron’s father passed away unexpectedly. As a child, Caron and her sister moved often as their mother worked to provide for the family.

“She was a hard worker,” Caron recalled of her mother. They spent time living in Nebraska and on a farm in Minnesota before moving to New England.

Caron met her husband-to-be, Edward, at a Providence minor league baseball game.

“He was a handsome hunk,” she said, adding that he always was, even when older. “I had a wonderful husband.”

The couple were happily married for 51 years, raising their family together in Warwick.

At age 50, Caron learned how to fly an airplane, an activity she continued until she was 80 years old.

“I had to make up my mind to do something,” she said. “I took a course and it wasn’t hard at all.”

She belonged to the local chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed women pilots. Flying was a far cry from the horse-and-buggy Caron grew up with (the automobile was the most important invention of her lifetime, she said), but taking to the skies became a true passion for her.

“I loved every minute of it,” she said, describing her excitement as she’d take in the surroundings around her. “The only time you worry is if you’re not gonna stay up there.”

Caron said her life was very active overall, and that she still tries hard to stay occupied. She enjoys art, including painting and drawing, and daily crossword puzzles.

In her 90s, she taught herself how to play the guitar, ukulele and keyboard.

She said the secret to living a long and healthy life is to avoid doing “crazy things.”

“I’m not a drinker,” she said. “I think it’s a waste of money and everything else."

Imparting another piece of advice, Caron said: “Don’t be lazy. Look around and see what you can do or learn.”