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Cornelius News

Autumn Care resident, healthy at 106, was 4 during 1918 epidemic

July 1. Brigit Velletta, born in Manhattan, raised in Brooklyn and now living at Autumn Care in Cornelius, turned 106 years old on May 24. She has three sons, nine grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren.

Happy 106th Birthday Brigit Velletta!

Son Sal and daughter-in-law Terry Velletta, both 75, live in Cornelius. Terry explains that Sal Sr. passed away in 1978.

She was born in 1914, a month before Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, helping start World War I, and four years before the Spanish Flu pandemic killed some 675,000 people, many of them children under five years old.

Brigit, who is known to family and friends as Mary, remembers people crying all the time in 1918-1919.

People lived close together in Brooklyn a century ago; most families lived in the same neighborhoods.

“She does say she can’t believe she is still here,” says Terry Velletta. “She says ‘I wake up and say to myself, ‘I’m still here.’”

Visiting her from the other side of the window at Autumn Care is difficult. Due to COVID-19 she hasn’t been with her family in three months. At Autumn Care she has eluded the novel coronavirus, thank goodness.

“At least she can see us,” Terry says.