Celebrating 102, California man remembers the past

02/22/2011 10:56 AM

02/22/2011 5:06 PM

When Charlie Masengale was born, William Howard Taft was president, Robert Peary and his team reached the North Pole, Joan of Arc was declared a saint, "Shine On, Harvest Moon" was the No. 1 song in the land, the 16th Amendment (income tax) was passed and the mayor of Tokyo presented the president with 2,000 cherry trees.

Of all those historic events, only four abide today. There's still income tax. Joan of Arc is still a saint. The Washington, D.C., cherry trees are set to blossom in a few weeks.

And Charlie turned 102 on Monday.

The Missouri-born Masengale celebrated his third triple-digit birthday with family and friends at the Franciscan Convalescent Hospital in Merced. Four generations of Masengales and in-laws showed up to give "Grandpa" his presents and eat birthday cake with white frosting and blue trim.

The centenarian's advice for a long life: "You have to pay for your sins on this earth." He loves breakfast and drinks coffee and Dr Pepper.

Son Larry bought his parents a home in Merced a few years back. Only a series of strokes forced Charlie from independent living into assisted living and then the Franciscan about a year ago. His wife died five years ago at age 89, and his three sons (two of them twins), daughter, four stepchildren, grandkids, great-grandkids and special friends such as Diana and Alex Gonzalez have made sure he's got company and companionship when he wants.

He remembers traveling in a wagon with his folks from Missouri to Nebraska.

Read the complete story at mercedsunstar.com

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