Life ‘exciting’ at 102

  • Adele is shown in a warm embrace with friend Erin Parten. - Current photo by Tammy Cheek/other photo submitted

  • Photos of Adele Bossert at age 21 in 1943. Adele celebrated her 102nd birthday Wednesday July 3, at her home at Arbor Terrace senior living in West Knoxville. - Current photo by Tammy Cheek/other photo submitted

Two years ago, Arbor Terrace assisted living resident Adele Bossert passed the centennial milestone and carries on after reaching her 102nd birthday on Wednesday, July 3.

“It’s kind of exciting,” she said. “I love all the complements I get for being 102, such as she’s ‘awesome’ and ‘You don’t look 102.’”

About reaching that mark, “I have been blessed by God all my years,” Adele said. “I’ve had very good health. He’s blessed me in so many ways.”

To live 102 years, “first, you have to believe in God and ask for many blessings, and He’ll give them to you if you truly believe,” she said.

Adele also attributes exercise to her longevity.

“Doing the exercises I did at a young age … exercise does help,” she added.

Adele was born in 1922 to William and Ida Maetten Hoener in St. Louis, the youngest of four daughters, of which the other three were Dorothy, Vera and Edith.

“We lived in the city, what was called Hyde Park District” in my grandparents’ house, she recalled. “We had five families living in one house.

“They just called them family flats,” Adele added.

“I lived through the Depression. I was about 8 when the Depression started.

Although, “We were not rich, we were well enough during that time,” Adele recalled. “My parents and sister (Dorothy) worked, so we weren’t on welfare or any government programs. We were able to support ourselves.

“It was a different world,” she added. “If you had any amount of money at all, you could buy fruit. If you’d be on food stamps, you were limited to what you could buy.”

Her father was a truck driver for a laundry business before he opened his own laundry business.

“He was an entrepreneur who could figure things out,” Adele said.

Tragedy struck the family when Vera, the second oldest child at age 1, was run over by a truck and killed. Adele was 7.

“When I was 8, my oldest sister (Dorothy) got meningitis, and she passed away,” she said. Edith, who was 13 when Adele was 8, lived to be 84. She died in 2004.

Adele was 16 and had a bicycle when she met her future husband, Ted Bossert, whose family owned a bicycle shop two stores up from her father’s business.

She remembered the St. Louis Cycling Boys all rode to the bicycle shop. Ted, whom she described as ‘handsome,” was a member of that club.

“I got to riding, and they had a track in St. Louis — Forest Park — where the boys would race,” Adele recalled. “I would come every night to this bicycle shop, and we’d ride out about 30 miles and back. My mother wouldn’t let me go unless the wife of the bicycle shop owner rode with me.”

Adele was not allowed to date when she was 16, but “by the time I was 17 or 18, I was pretty much dating,” she said. “They had cars, but my mother and daddy would not let me ride in a car.”

They had to park the car in front of her parents’ house while the couple took the streetcars on the date.

“They had streetcars on tracks that went all over St. Louis,” she said. “They didn’t have buses, but they did get them later.

“By the time, we could ride in a car, (Ted) kissed me,” Adele added with a laugh. “I loved him.”

“We hadn’t thought much about marriage, but he did give me an engagement ring on Valentine’s Day in 1942.”

However, when Ted got his draft notice to go into the Army, “on Jan. 1, we decided we better get married.,” she said.

Adele was 21 when she married Ted Bossert, who was 27, on Dec. 12, 1942. He reported to the Army Jan. 15. “I was a war bride,” she said. “He was sent to Frisco, California.