Surviving a century of everything you can imagine, and the Red Sox

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — In Mary Latowski’s century of life, there have been wars, hurricanes and drastic changes, punctuated by years of rooting for a team that usually let her down.

As she celebrated her birthday this week, she reflected on more good days than bad. And with pitchers and catchers reporting, there are hopes she’ll see another Red Sox run to the Fall Classic.

“I was at Fenway for the other three,” she said.

Just try to keep up with Mary. She’s not fast, but she sure is steady as she still lives on her own and drives.

Her husband told her to learn how when she was 30.

“And now many a times I look up at heaven at him and say, ‘thank you for making me drive,'” she said while cruising down a road in Coventry. “He forced me to.”

By the way, in 70 years of driving, she’s been in just one accident.

“It wasn’t my fault,” she added, confidently.

“I always said that I would never live to see the Red Sox win the World Series. And I saw them win three of them.”

Did we mention she just turned 101 years old on Valentines Day?

As she baked up a pound cake in her kitchen of nearly six decades, she told us how back in the day, before the $6 Valentines Day card, February 14 wasn’t a big deal.

“Not when I was little. But when I got older everyone remembered my birthday,” she said. “So that’s why I get so many cards.”

One era she’ll never forget is the flu epidemic that reports indicate claimed 50 Rhode Islanders a day at its peak.

“Two of my neighbors died of that influenza,” she recalled. “So many parents died and children were left either without a mother or a father.”

Along the way she had two children, three grandchildren, and now seven great grandchildren.

Over the years they watched her watch her favorite team in frustration.

“I was so disappointed and my husband would say, ‘don’t do that. It’s only a game,'” she said. “I always said that I would never live to see the Red Sox win the World Series. And I saw them win three of them.”

Now, as she enters her 102nd year, she’s looking for a fourth title in her golden years.

“I hope so. I hope so. Too bad Papi’s gone.”

But if you ask her if the slugger of her youth, Ted Williams, was better than Big Papi;. “Oh, oh,” she said with great consternation. “I think so. I think so.”

Send your story ideas to Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow us on Twitter:@StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.