Josephine Ingoglia is still one feisty woman after all these years – all 107 of them.
After witnessing five wars and 17 presidential administrations, the plucky woman still walks on her own, hangs out with friends, watches her favorite soap operas, dances and has even been known to belt out an Italian tune or two at the Shoreview Nursing Home, 3100 Brighton 4th Street, where residents recently celebrated her birthday.
However, when you’ve lived this long, you’ve earned the right to talk to whoever you want and turn down interviews from an adoring public – including this publication.
But that’s just Josephine for you, her daughter Anne, age 70, explained this week.
“She’s outliving everyone, and if you ask her about it, she just shrugs her shoulders and says, ‘What do you want me to do?’” Anne said. “She doesn’t even take any medication.”
Born in Palermo in 1901, Josephine came to the United States as a toddler with her parents, who ran a popular bakery in Highland Falls.
Anne said her mother was a gifted seamstress who was given a chance to study design in Paris as a teenager, but she opted instead to abide her mother’s wishes to take care of her two sisters and three brothers.
She ultimately settled in Bensonhurst in 1927 with her husband, who she married in 1918 at 17 years old.
Today, Josephine is a proud mother of six, a grandmother of 14, a great grandmother of 22 and a great, great grandmother of four.
Yet, after so many accomplishments, she’s not just sitting back and reflecting on a well-lived life.
Up until her 100th birthday, she was a regular at Atlantic City, where she tried to milk rows of slot machines for every coin they had.
“We’d be there all day, and when I would try to get her into the car, she’d ask, ‘We’re going home already?’”
She was also a celebrity on the holidays, where she would make fried dough and meatballs for her beloved extended family.
These days, she spends her time participating in Shoreview Nursing Home activities, chatting with the orderlies and even flirting with some of the male residents.
“When I visit her, she’d look at some of the men and say, ‘Isn’t he cute!’” Anne divulged.
But Josephine is not ready to settle down again.
“We joke with her, asking if she was looking for a new man. She’d say, ‘One husband was enough.’”