104 golden years
Eulalia Vila proves one doesn't need their veggies to live a happy long life ??? just the desire to help others.
Gloria Coombs, left, helps Eulalia Vila, 104, cut her cake as they celebrate Eulalia's 104th birthday at Broadview Residential Care Center in Glendale on Saturday, February 12, 2011.
Vila and her sister, Blanca Vila, 98, live together at the Broadview Residential Care Center in Glendale.
Residents and staff wished Eulalia Vila a happy birthday on Feb. 12 with a chocolate sheet cake, singing traditional Spanish birthday songs and a bouquet of flowers — along with lots of hugs and kisses.
“She acts like a 60-year-old,” said Esther Galvan, night supervisor. “She never complains. She’s unbelievable. We love her!”
Also joining the party were the sisters’ niece Tina Vila of Burbank and family friend Maria Berbee, who lived next door to the sisters for more than 30 years in Los Angeles. The sisters moved to Broadview 15 months ago.
They were born in Havana, Cuba. Eulalia Vila worked as a secretary and seamstress. Her sister was a teacher.
Eulalia Vila came to the United States many years ago to attend a Catholic junior high school in New Orleans, but returned to Cuba upon completion of study. She never married. She returned to the United States in 1972.
Today their life at Broadview includes attending Mass and receiving Communion once a week, exercising and enjoying the entertainers who visit the facility.
The family was very close, Tina Vila said. There were six children — three boys, three girls.
“When you come from a big family, the [sibling] bond is stronger than between children and parents,” she said.
And Eulalia Vila always took care of everyone else, said her sister, tears filling her eyes.
“She’s the greatest sister,” Blanca said. “She always helped us as if she was our second mother.”
“No crying,” Eulalia Vila said to her sister in Spanish. “This is not a funeral.”
Blanca Vila giggled.
Eulalia Vila can’t attribute eating veggies to her good health, Tina Vila said. She hates them.
“Ah si,” Eulalia Vila said.
She does eat meat — chicken, beef and pork — and sweets, especially chocolate.
“All cookies,” she added with zest.