Mayor Nicholas Sacco, North Bergen Housing Authority Director Gerry Sanzari, and building manager Darra Earl joined resident Lucrecia Rubio to celebrate her 100th birthday on March 17.
Rubio migrated from Cuba in 1980 and spent her entire adult life as a resident of North Bergen. She went on to raise her two children in town and is a grandmother of five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, with another on the way.
When asked the key to living a long healthy life Rubio said, “My secret is to be happy, not worry, enjoy life, and wishing well to everyone.”
This is the second resident this month that has celebrated their 100th birthday.
Joining the club
Sacco presented a plaque to North Bergen resident Maria Carcich on Tuesday, March 9, on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Joining in the birthday celebration were Police Chief Peter Fasilis and a procession of police and fire personnel with flashing lights driving past her home.
Carcich was born in 1921 in what was then Yugoslavia. She emigrated to Hudson County in 1964 with her husband Andrew and three daughters.
According to the township, Carcich worked as a seamstress in a West New York knitting factory for many years before retiring in 1986. She speaks multiple languages and always loved gardening, cooking, and baking. Until COVID-19 hit she never missed a Sunday mass, walking to the nearby church each week.
Carcich enjoys spending time with her family, including her three grandkids and three great-grandchildren. Her daughters and other family members joined in the birthday celebration, as neighbors presented her with cake, flowers, and balloons.
Although she currently uses a walker, Carcich continues to be quite active and insisted on coming downstairs to pose with police officers and their motorcycles. She credits her longevity to a diet of home-grown vegetables, fish, and red wine.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, birthday celebrations have obviously been limited. The township has honored residents celebrating their birthdays through drive-by celebrations.
The township organized a similar celebration to help a local boy celebrate his 12th birthday last April. Police officers drove past his house blaring Happy Birthday from their stereos.
The practice has been commonplace across the county, and the country. In Bayonne, the city held a drive-by celebration to honor a 98-year-old WWII veteran in April.
The practice has become part of the “new normal” for now. However, as the vaccine distribution expands and more restrictions are lifted, there is hope for normal birthday celebrations again soon.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.