Sunday, May 25, 2008

World's Oldest Person

Today's posting continues a series on lessons I use to keep the idea for learning alive with the boys aged 6-9 that I find myself tutoring this school year. For those of you with kids, you know how hard it is to control the short attention spans kids have at that age, especially boys. So, I've come up with little lessons that keep them interested and anxious to learn. Here's one about the current title holder of the world's oldest person:

Edna (Scott) Parker was born on April 20, 1893 and is 114 years old. She is the oldest known person living today after the death of Yone Minagawa of Japan who died on August 13, 2007.
Parker became the state of Indiana’s oldest living person on April 7, 2005 when Minnie Kearby (who was six days older) died. She became the oldest living American on Febuary 14, 2007, after the death of Corinne Dixon Taylor of Washington D.C.

Parker was born on a farm in Morgan County, Indiana, and raised eating a typical farm diet of meat and starch. She attended Franklin High School, then took classes at Franklin College where she earned a teaching certificate. Parker taught at a two-room schoolhouse in Smithland for several years, until she married her next door neighbor, Earl Parker, in 1911. Earl died on February 23, 1939. They had two sons, both of whom she has outlived.

As of October 2007, she has five grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren and thirteen great-great-grandchildren.

Parker currently lives at Heritage House Convalescent Center, a retirement community in Shelbyville, Indiana. She is still in good health and able to walk. She lives in the same retirement center as Sandy Allen, the second tallest living woman verified by Guinness World Records. She enjoys reading and reciting poetry. Find out more about current title holders in the strangest categories at:
Research info gathered at:

Now, here's one of my "youthful" poems:

Roommates: Numbly Oblige, Nocturnal

Companionship just now notable for imprecision.
But mainly, we agree that joy is nothing but a rash
judgment of voices rising from the floorboards and
that much of life could eventually become worrisome.
Our conversations are nothing more than bridges
across deep abyss. I sometimes like to stand at the
edge and admire its smart use of line breaks. She
occasionally likes to sort out its faults then distribute
them among the armed camp. Neither of us can find
a metaphor for our tweedy, rumpled city-gun feeling or
the fact that our mountainside walks with a limp. “I
think what the world needs is more calamity on the
third floor”, she confuses, using words accustomed to
being pampered. “Funny, I thought losing the remaining
leg to diabetes would be a sure-fire wake-up call”, I
reply, as I bake a cake for the after-funeral gathering…

and we both long to be a pair of socks…
or that one day missing from February.

Stories of fables without morals.
Nightingales without copyrights to songs.

And if you had a choice, would you rather be
“enormously gifted” or “exceedingly bright” ?

Poem first published at:
Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.


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