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St. Johnsbury centarian's secret - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

St. Johnsbury centarian's secret

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ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. -

Norma Toussaint on Friday joined an exclusive club -- becoming a centenarian. "I feel pretty good, I really feel good," she said.

Toussaint said the secret to living a long life -- staying positive. "I think attitude had a lot to do with it -- not being pessimistic, being optimistic and being, no matter how bad things are, there's always something good," she said.

Born in Maine, Toussaint spent most of her life in Vermont.  She got married and had five children.  When her husband died in his late 50's, she went to work at a department store. She's now legally blind and hard of hearing but her mind and tongue are sharp. "Well, if I have a cocktail it's when the kids are home, so I might say my kids drive me to drink," she said.

And Friday she will celebrate with a whiskey sour with her family who have come from all over the country.

According to the Center For Rural Studies, in 2000 there were 100 people over a hundred and in 2010 it was up to 133 -- with women out numbering men 10 to 1. "That may have to do with issues that occur earlier in life expectancy, with more deaths due to trauma with men more than woman," said Dr. William Pendlebury, Director of the University of Vermont's Center on Aging.

Simply put -- women have a better chance to reach 100.  Dr. Pendlebury said many in the aging boomer generation will someday hit the century mark. "And just the fact that the number of people who are getting older -- people over 65 are increasing dramatically -- so the one statistic that is really eye opening is that every single day for the next 17 years 8,000 people are going to turn 65," he said.

Doctor Pendlebury said the advances in health care and the knowledge of what's bad for you has increased the life expectancy.

Norma Toussaint confesses it's not her diet that has kept her going. "Potato chips, Moxie and rhubarb," she said. But again -- it goes back to attitude.  "I call it PLUM disease -- Poor Little Unfortunately Me. I say, thank God for the blessings I have," she said.

A pretty good saying to live a long life by.

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