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Woman celebrates 107th birthday in Southwest Florida

Posted at 2:06 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 14:06:33-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A Fort Myers woman is the epitome of living a long and full life.

Anna Natella celebrated her 107th birthday Thursday, surrounded by family and friends.

“Couldn't believe my eyes to see all those people we had for the birthday.”

Anna celebrated at the Brookdale Senior Living Facility in Fort Myers. She’s been living here for a few years, but living in America for 93.

“I was born in Italy, 1912, and I came to this country I was 13 years old. And I came to Ellis Island, and my father met me there and we went to live in Milburn, New Jersey.

Anna says from a young girl she was always a hard worker, being forced out of school to help support her family.

“My father says I had to go to work, I didn’t have to go school, I went to work for 10 cents an hour in a factory.”

For Anna, this was challenging, not knowing much English. But she eventually learned. “I bought a dictionary, Italian and English, and that's how I learned to read and write in English.”

Sharing her story of what she’s seen over her lifetime, she says it’s easier to live now than before. “You couldn't buy a job in those days, and it was very hard to live. But now we have an abundance. If you know the work and money and it makes a lot of difference in life.”

At Brookdale, Anna is active in her community, taking the stairs every day, making it a priority to stay happy and healthy, while also having a good diet. “Well, I don't eat much candy. Well, I used to eat a lot of candy, and I don't eat much sweets, and very seldomly dessert. But have good meals, and that's about it, really.”

But that’s not her secret to living to 100. She has some advice for the young people. “Well, you should take care of yourself. Eat right, don't abuse liquor, don't smoke…that's about it, I never touched it.”