Besse Berry Brown Cooper celebrated her 116th birthday on Sunday, Aug. 26. The Georgia woman is the eighth person in the world to reach the tender age of 116, and she is the fourth American.
“The older she’s gotten, the wittier she’s gotten,” Cooper’s son has said to news outlets.
Cooper is the oldest person living according to the Guinness World Records. Cooper was born in 1896 in Sullivan, Tenn., is one of eight siblings and was married in 1924. She was a teacher and has four grandchildren and several great- and great-great-grandchildren. Cooper has lived in Monroe, Ga., since she was 21 years old. The town named a bridge after her in honor of her long life, which has spanned three decades. She has survived 21 presidents, from Grover Cleveland to Barack Obama, and seen her fair share of political movements and trends.
What was Mrs. Cooper’s secret?
“I mind my own business. And, I don’t eat junk food,” she told Guinness World Records.
It is safe to say, Cooper would be an excellent interview. It is not clear from major news coverage if Cooper would be mentally or physically able to get through an interview, but, no doubt, she could provide so much insight. Someone people get more ornery as they get older and some get more fun; it would be interesting to see how Cooper’s mentality and belief system have changed, or stayed the same. A look at how Cooper’s values, wants, needs and viewpoints have changed during the past 100 years and how she feels about how America and the world has evolved would serve as a beautiful life lesson for many people today. What insight she might have on the progression of our political parties and current legislation. Even the passing of her lifelong friends would be an excellent topic of conversation.
Although Cooper gave that invaluable advice of minding your own business and eating consciously, I do wonder what excellent questions people all over the world would have for her. If I could interview Cooper, I think I would ask the following:
I hear more frequently the expression “the world is going dowhill.” What do you think?
Speaking of food, there is a big difference between eating what you grow and cook yourself versus surviving on processed food. Have you noticed changes in behavior over the years as many Americans now eat mostly processed food?
What’s the most shocking world event that has happened over the years in your opinion?
Compare life as a 21-year-old in 1917 versus today’s 21 year old?
Name three of the most influential people you’ve met in life.
Name three of the world’s most influential people, in your opinion?
Where do you think we have improved and what do you think we need to work on in our federal government?
What do you think about health care reform?
Where is the most fun place you have been on vacation?
If you could do two things differently in your life what would you do and why?
I feel like time is speeding up; humans are moving very quickly these days. What do you say?
What advice would you give your grand-children about how to live?
N’Sync or the Backsteet Boys?