Super Senior: Ada Alger

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 5:56 PM EST
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MIDDLESEX, Vt. (WCAX) - Perhaps it’s not too far of a stretch to say life is like a jigsaw puzzle for Ada Alger -- trying to find the perfect match.

“And sometimes you find the right piece and it doesn’t go there at all,” Alger said. Other times, it’s just picking up the pieces. “Another thing you have to have is a sense of humor.”

Alger has seen a lot in her 100 years of living. But her world as a kid was anything but worldly. She grew up in North Duxbury on the corner of River Road and Camel’s Hump Road. It was a life of isolation. She didn’t visit Waterbury -- about five miles away -- until she was 12 years old. “We didn’t go places in those days, you know,” Alger said.

She loved school, but after the 8th grade, it all ended. “My father didn’t have a car, so I didn’t have a way to go, so I didn’t go to high school,” Alger said. ))

Reporter Joe Carroll: Did you know you weren’t going to go to high school?

Ada Alger: Yes I did and I cried and cried... My teacher felt so bad for me... and she was trying to make arraignments for me to go to Waterbury to live... But my grandmother was very much against it. Back in those days, grandmas kind of ruled, you know, and grandma said, ‘She’s too young to go.’

The teen went to work at a nearby boarding house. One day a neighbor, Russell, came to the door. He had borrowed a gun from her brother to go deer hunting. “He brought the rifle back and I met him at the door and that’s how we met. Romantic, right?” Alger said.

Romantic enough for the two to get married. Russell had enlisted in the Army during World War II and saw action in Europe. After the war, he stayed in the Army and Alger joined him at various bases around the world including in Texas, Alaska, Germany, and Asia. “It was something I never expected,” she said.

And with experience comes wisdom. “I worry about more about today than when I was young,” Alger said.

She says she worries about the world and the potential of another world war. “Do I think it’s worse? Yes, I do. Because if we ever have another war, it’s going to be entirely different,” Alger said.

Sobering thoughts, but the 100-year-old still stays positive. “You got to be able to laugh at yourself and everybody else.”

Sage advice from a woman who’s seen the world but calls Vermont home. “If I was a kid growing up, if I had known the places that I was going to be, was going to go, I would never believe it,” Alger said.