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Founded in 1989 by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D.
Centenarian Expert and Older Adults Advocate

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October 2007 - Sadie Salerno

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Edited/compiled from material by Marion Anna Campagna

A 100 Watt Lady – Sadie Salerno

Sadie Salerno turns 101 this month!
         Born in Manhattan’s Little Italy in 1906, Sadie, one of six children in the family, attended an all-girl Catholic school. Before going to school, Sadie would pick up patterns of men’s pants from a manufacturer which she then brought to her mother to sew together. When completed, she returned them to the manu­facturer. Another responsibility was to bring the bread dough her mother prepared to the downstairs bakery to bake. After school she would pick up the freshly baked bread, ready for supper.
       At the age of 16, Sadie had her working papers and learned to use the sewing machine. In the same building where she worked, she met her future husband, Salvatore Salerno. He prepared the print fabric for embroidery and crafting; Sadie worked downstairs as a seamstress.

The Salerno family - 1932

Salerno family - 1932

Sadie & Sal - 1964

Sadie & Sal 1964    

Sadie & Sal - 1980

Sadie & Sal 1980

       They married in 1925, traveling to the church in a horse-drawn carriage. She and Sal moved into a bungalow and Sadie went to work in her husband's parents' resort in New Jersey
      Sadie and Salvatore had three children: two boys and one girl. She washed their clothes with stones on a river bank in a New Jersey creek and bathed the children there in the summer.
      Trolley cars and fire trucks were drawn by horses. Fruit, vegetables and fish were sold from horse-drawn carts. Milk was poured from large containers into little quart cans. In the summertime Sadie rented bathing suits in Brooklyn to go swimming at Coney Island. The skirts had elastic on the bottom and no pants; only her face and hands showed.
     Widowed at age 75, Sadie became her own woman, joining organizations and senior centers. She traveled all over, enjoyed her first train ride and airplane trips to Sicily, Italy, and Texas. She also traveled to California, Iowa, Niagara Falls, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
       Religion has always played a big part in her life. She believes in “live and let live,” and avoids confrontations or arguments. She is loved by all her friends.
       Sadie has nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Her grandchildren seek her opinions and advice.



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