Born on Oct.13, 1919 in Hampstead, Anna Fay Jenkins commemorated a century of life Tuesday surrounded by friends, family and her favorite game — bingo.
Jenkins was born and raised on a farm at the end of St. Paul Road where she milked cows, carried wood, beat the rug and rode a horse and buggy to town. At age 21, she married her husband with whom she had three children — Loretta, Dennis and Gary. Loretta passed away last year but Jenkins said she depends on her boys.
“I still have my two sons, I don’t know what I’d do without them,” she said.
Jenkins wasn’t always in Carroll County. She moved around a bit after she was married, bouncing around Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Carroll counties. She worked various jobs, including her work as a riveter during World War II. Her last job was working at a hair salon.
Jenkins picked up playing bingo in her early 20s and has loved it ever since.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a fun game and I enjoy it,” she said. "Sometimes you don’t win but that goes along with it. You meet a lot [of people] and have a lot of friends there and we talk and have a lot of fun.
Jenkins spends her Tuesdays playing bingo at the Hampstead McDonald’s, where she was thrown a birthday party Tuesday.
“She’s been coming to bingo here for about 25 years. I took it over about four years ago and they play 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.," said Violet Knight, a Hampstead McDonald’s employee. "I’s for the seniors, doesn’t cost them anything. They can win a free sandwich, a soda, coffee, tea, something like that. We play 20 to 25 games.
"She’s a sweetheart, she really is. To be 100 and as alert as she is, it’s amazing, it really is.”
Sometimes she is driven to the bingo game by Lydia Korman, her friend of 55 years.
Korman met Jenkins when she would take her mother-in-law to the salon where Jenkins worked, across from St. Paul’s church in Arcadia. Even though Korman now lives in Baltimore County, she still finds the time to take her friend to bingo when others can’t.
“She comes here every every Tuesday to play bingo, so that’s where I see her now,” said Korman. “She’s just wonderful, she’s a wonderful person, so hardworking. She’s been a hard worker all her life and that’s an inspiration, should be, to all younger people.”
Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, presented a citation from the Maryland General Assembly in honor of Jenkins’ 100th birthday signed by Shoemaker, fellow District 5 delegates Susan Krebs and April Rose and state Sen. Justin Ready.
“I said to her, I thought she looks younger than I do. She appears to be in great shape. Apparently, she’s very popular among the bingo crowd because they had a big turnout there," Shoemaker said. "It’s interesting because that’s like the third centenarian that I’ve written a citation for in the past three weeks.”
At her party, Jenkins had a huge sheet cake to celebrate with friends and family — including her son Gary, who traveled from Florida to celebrate with his mother.
“I’m just surprised by how many friends she has and how many people responded to her 100 birthday and it’s just really neat,” he said. “I couldn’t miss this one.”
Jenkins also had a celebration at her senior living facility, Golden Crest, in Hampstead, where about 100 people, including her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, attended to honor her with crab cakes and cake.
Jenkins attributes her long life to being raised on that Hampstead farm.
“Being a farm girl,” she said, when asked the secret to her longevity. “The country air, being out in the sunshine ... it was hot but we were young and we didn’t mind it."
The worst part about getting old, according to Jenkins, is not being able to do everything she could when she was younger.
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“You can’t do what you used to do, you find out quickly,” she said. “But you can still have a lot of fun.”