WESTBOROUGH – She was born in the era of Prohibition, when the latest electronic craze was radio, and an inventor from Worcester named Robert Goddard was experimenting with something called rockets.
On Nov. 24, Tess Perodeau Anastasi celebrated her 102nd birthday at the Highlands on East Main Street, her residence for the past five years.
Although she has some difficulty remembering things, Anastasi said she’s had a wonderful life. Anastasi – whose favorite activity was driving around New England with friends – drove until she was 95 years old.
“She’s remarkably independent and healthy,” said Cheryl LoPresti, her neighbor for 16 years and a regular visitor.
Anastasi was born and raised in the Vernon Hills neighborhood of Worcester, and she attended Catholic schools until graduating from Ascension High School.
“We all grew up together,” said her niece, Mary O’Malley, who lives in Worcester.
She married her first husband, Carl, in 1945. They owned and operated the Holiday Donut Shop in Worcester for many years. They had twin daughters, one of whom has since died.
In addition to her surviving daughter, Tricia Gallivan, there are also three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, with a fourth great-grandchild expected soon.
Her first husband died in 1978, and Anastasi lived alone for more than 30 years. During that time, she and her friends would take road trips to Cape Cod, Hampton Beach and other locations.
“Back and forth, here and there, all of us in my Buick … those were great times,” she said.
Then she met an old friend, John, whose wife had died. They married in 1992, and they were together until he died a few years ago.
These days, Anastasi spends her days at the Highlands meeting up with friends, and taking part in Bingo and other activities.