INKSTER (WWJ/AP) – A Detroit-area woman, a member of a select group of the living to have been born in the 19th century, is celebrating a birthday on Friday.
At age 115 Jeralean Talley — who was born May 23, 1899, in Montrose, Ga. — is the oldest living American and the second-oldest person in the world.
Talley, who still gets around on her own with the help of a walker, told WWJ’s Kathryn Larson she shuns chocolate, butter, and milk…but she does enjoys at least one guilty pleasure now and then.
“I don’t drink beer or whiskey,” she said. “I might take a swallow of wine.”
The Inkster resident plans to celebrate with family and friends at a local church on Sunday. For the party, she says she wants Sprite with her vanilla cake.
On her actual birthday — Friday — Talley spoke with WWJ just before heading out to the doctor for her annual checkup, although she says she doesn’t feel sick.
But Talley’s knees occasionally hurt, her right hand shakes, she has a hard time hearing and her memory comes and goes.
Her answer as to why she has lived so long hasn’t changed over the years.
Talley credits love for her family and her faith.
“It’s all in the good Lord’s hands,” Talley said. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”
The Gerontology Research Group, which tracks the world’s longest-living people, verified Talley’s age using census data. Japan resident Misao Okawa, 116, tops the list.
Talley, whose husband died in 1988, is cared for by a 76-year-old daughter who lives with her.
Five generations of the family live in the metro Detroit area, including a great-great-grandson.
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