Chapin Nursing Home honors 14 seniors who are 99 and older

World War II veteran Ulyses Jackson, 102, with activities coordinator Nicole.
Photo by Naeisha Rose
By Naeisha Rose

Chapin Nursing Home will be inducting 14 seniors during its second Annual Century Club celebration.

Among the inductees are nine members who are 100 years of age and older, along with five elders who are 99 years-old.

The special event was scheduled for Friday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 165-01 Chapin Parkway in Jamaica.

Helping to usher in the festivities are state Sens. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Tony Avella (D-Bayside), state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), and Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside).

Among the centennials are Ulyses Jackson, 102; Josephine Herman, 100; and Lillie Bivens, 101.

Jackson, a World War II Army veteran, who served from 1940 to 1945, was born in South Carolina and was the son of a sharecropper. Growing up as a black man in the South during the Jim Crow era, Jackson did not receive an education, but when the opportunity came to serve his country, he did not hesitate, despite the limitations put on servicemen of color.

“You carried a rifle all day long, but you didn’t carry any bullets,” Jackson said.

During his time in the Army, Jackson went overseas to Germany, England and the Netherlands, where he learned to speak Dutch.

“I’m lucky to be alive,” Jackson said.

Josephine Herman grew up in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, the daughter of a Polish immigrant. She sold flowers to different restaurants, as her husband of 50 years, John, drove her around. Together they had seven children.

She remembers making Pierogi by hand. Her mother would use a baby carriage to sell moonshine during the Prohibition era.

Living so long has come with some sad memories for Herman. Her only surviving child is her youngest, Josephine Jr., who was an educator in Prospect Park for 40 years. She maintains fond memories of her family during holidays past.

“They were wonderful together,” Herman’s daughter said of her parents. “They were inseparable.”

Lillie Bivens and her husband Roland were married for 47 years, and together they had four children.

“My sister-in-law came down from Virginia and introduced him to me,” Bivens said. “I just said ‘hello ‘and ‘goodbye.’ ”

It wasn’t love at first sight for her and her husband, who made airplanes during World War II. .

She had plenty advice on love.

“If you get married, you got to discuss things before you start packing your clothes. You got to be kind to each other and not try to be the boss of each other. Listen,” Bivens said.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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