WORDS OF THE WISE

A quick chat with 100-year-old Nantucketer Mary Glowacki.

N MAGAZINE: What was the island like when you were growing up?
GLOWACKI: It was nothing like it is today. It was paradise on earth. When we were first here, there weren’t as many people. Now there are thousands and thousands.

N MAGAZINE: As a young girl, what would you do for fun?
GLOWACKI: We’d go swimming every day down at Conrad Beach, which is where the Galley is today.

N MAGAZINE: You and your husband ran a number of successful businesses on the island over the years. Which one was your favorite?
GLOWACKI: The restaurant. It was called The Surf Club. It was right out at the airport where the Nantucket Inn is now. We lived there. We served frog’s legs! What a chef we had. He was good. And my husband never brought in any food that wasn’t top notch.

N MAGAZINE: Didn’t you also try to get your pilot’s license?
GLOWACKI: Yes, I loved flying. That was something else. I remember flying over ‘Sconset and seeing some of the seals on the beach. Now you see the seals and there’s so many that you can’t even see the sand. My husband and I took flying lessons together.

N MAGAZINE: That’s quite a hobby. What else did you do when you went out on dates?
GLOWACKI: We’d take the boat from Nantucket to New Bedford. We’d get a state room and they’d serve us food and everything. It was wonderful.

N MAGAZINE: What have you been eating that keeps you so healthy?
GLOWACKI: I don’t eat much now [laughs]. But over the years, I never ate low-calorie or fat-free. My favorites are hot fudge sundaes and frappes. Real butter. I eat ice cream every night.

N MAGAZINE: So what’s your secret to living such a long life?
GLOWACKI: I had the help of God. He does everything for me. If I ever need anything, I pray to God and He’s given it to me.

N MAGAZINE: Who instilled that faith in you?
GLOWACKI: My mother. She had six children.

N MAGAZINE: You have quite a big family now too?
GLOWACKI: We have a very large family here. There’s five generations of us. I think I have fifteen grandchildren, twenty-three great grandchildren, and one great, great, grand-child.

N MAGAZINE: If you could change anything on Nantucket, what would you change?
GLOWACKI: I’ve been told that there’s more liquor sold on this island than any place in the whole world. And all the drugs they have here — aren’t they terrible? So I’d get rid of that if I could.

N MAGAZINE: Did you get any interesting gifts for your hundredth birthday?
GLOWACKI: I received a recognition from Pope Francis at the Saturday evening Mass with four hundred of my closest family and friends.

N MAGAZINE: What piece of advice would you give someone about living a good life?
GLOWACKI: Listen to God. Do what He tells you. He loves you very much.

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