Ada Haddock (Courtesy of Cindy Cummings)
Ada Haddock (Courtesy of Cindy Cummings)

Ada Haddock can tell about 100 stories, including the secret to longevity.

Haddock celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday, Dec. 15, and she said there’s not much of a secret to living long.

“Hard work, which is what I’ve done all of my life, and prayer,” Haddock said.

Her friends at the Westminster House Senior Apartments along N. Charles Street in Baltimore helped Haddock celebrate her milestone.

“She has really made a great impression on the whole community here,” said Cindy Cummings, Haddock’s bible study teacher. “She’s a woman of great class. Everybody loves her.”

Hammock was born in New York in 1919, but for the past 21 years, she’s lived at Westminster Senior House Apartments.

A lover of crossword puzzles which she does every day, Hammock once worked at a library and hospital, and eventually retired as an IRS employee.

She said her favorite president was Barack Obama – “who else would it be?”

“Obama and [John F.] Kennedy,” she said.

Longevity appears to have run in the family. Hammock’s mother lived to age 108, she said.

As the decades pass, Hammock said she realizes that technology has made life easier in many different ways. Still, she said she refuses to purchase a cellphone.

“My [landline] phone is enough for me because I’m not a phone person,” Hammock said. “I’m not a person to sit down on the telephone all day long. And these iPads and things like that are too distracting, the kids always have their heads in them.”

Asked if there’s one thing she’d like to see that hasn’t happened in her lifetime, Hammock said she’d like all residents to have decent health insurance coverage.

“I don’t think we get very good health care as it is, and you pay for everything,” Hammock said. “You go to the doctor’s office, and all you do is cough, and you’re out of there in five minutes. They call that an examination, and then they give you a prescription. They don’t bother to really check you out, so with all of the new technology, the discoveries, none of that is helping us.”

Hammock added that even with Medicare, there’s still too much she and others have to pay for out of pocket.

Still, she enjoys life today as she did when she and her friends would do the fox trot and other dances at the old Savoy Ballroom in New York.

“I love jazz, but I’m not up with the new music because I don’t know what they’re talking about with the rap music and other stuff,” Hammock said. “Now, they just shake. It’s not dancing, just shaking.”

Hammock said she’s proud of young women today who continue to fight for equal rights. She said she’d noticed the struggle for equal pay, and she endorses it.

“We didn’t have equal rights when I was growing up, but the women today want equal respect, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Hammock said. “I tell [young women] today to respect themselves or other people won’t respect them. My motto is, ‘Do unto others, as you’d have others do unto you.’ These young women are fighting for equal rights, and I hope they get it.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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