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Granddaughter of slave celebrates 106th birthday

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Updated: September 17, 2013 8:30AM

Magnolia Jennings doesn’t drink, smoke, cuss or hate. She prays, every day.

Jennings and her relatives offered up these tidbits to explain her longevity while celebrating her 106th birthday Thursday at Waterfront Terrace, a South Shore nursing home.

Jennings ate cake and munched on baked chicken as she tapped her finger to the music of a five-piece band.

“She has moments where her thinking is not clear, but she is sharp for her age,” said her niece, Elaine Ennols, 65. Crocheting and watching religious television prgrams are two of her favorite activities, and she is proud to have voted for President Barack Obama, Ennols said.

Besides needing a wheelchair to get around, Jennings is in great health and has no dietary restrictions.

“At 106, who cares? Eat what you want,” said Howard Alter, a nursing home administrator.

Her blueprint to survival has relied mostly on her ability to love, Ennols said.

She loved her three children and husband, all of whom she outlived. She has five grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren.

The daughter of Mississippi farmers, Jennings has spent most of her life as housewife.

She grew up in Mississippi, and in 1945, she moved to Chicago’s South Side, where she married Curtis Jennings. Her grandmother was a slave in Mississippi, according to Ennols.

Jennings, who carried a green purse in her lap, said she was not surprised to see 106.


Twitter: @mitchdudek

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