Martin C. Barry
A remarkably youthful and lively Maria Arcudi Simon marked her 100th birthday at the Habitation Communautaire Hellénique de Montréal on Hutchison St. last week with some friends, some music and a healthy dose of wine.
During a gathering of residents who live at the retirement home, Maria Arcudi Simon, a retired restaurant waitress, got into the spirit of things, imbibing in several glasses of red wine – her mood visibly brightening with each sip.
Enjoys red wine
“She likes a little red wine?” Nouvelles Parc Extension asked her niece, Linda Arcudi. “She LOVES her wine – perhaps a little bit too much,” she emphatically responded.
During a brief ceremony, a certificate from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was presented to Arcudi Simon, as well as a certificate from the Premier of Quebec. Both congratulated her on reaching the centennial milestone. There was also birthday cake, coffee and a cheese and fruit platter.
Independent at 100 years
It’s hard to imagine that there are more than a few people who’ve reached their hundredth year and yet are still able to live independently in their own apartment. Yet that’s the case with Maria Arcudi Simon.
According to her niece, Arcudi Simon has lived in her own apartment for the past seven years at the Habitation Communautaire Hellénique. She makes her own meals and does her own housekeeping with some assistance from community workers.
Eats a dozen eggs a week
“I’m the one who orders her groceries by phone once a week,” her niece said. “I order a good amount of food each time and she cooks it. Every week I order a dozen eggs and she goes through a dozen eggs a week. I don’t even eat one egg in a month.”
Despite the high cholesterol intake, Linda Arcudi said her elderly aunt doesn’t have any serious health issues such as diabetes. “And still she eats a lot of sweets – she loves sweets.” However, she does suffer from arthritis which leaves her in pain much of the time.
Career as a waitress
Arcudi Simon was married twice. She met both her husbands, who were chefs, at the restaurants where she served tables. She had no children. Up to seven years ago, she lived in a flat on Querbes Ave.
In a short interview, she said she enjoyed consuming just enough wine to take care of some of the pain from her arthritis. Asked by her niece whether she anticipated living another ten years, she answered, “I’m not sure I’ll get that far. One day at a time.”
Something to celebrate
Mostafa Farissi, administrative manager at the residence, said that celebrating 100-year birthdays is a relative rarity at Habitation Communautaire Hellénique de Montréal. “This is the first we’ve had in quite a long time,” he said.
“We are all very happy, especially since Mme Simon is still very much in good health and fine humour,” he continued. “It’s very good for the morale of everyone here to see her doing well. We’re all very happy about that. Her niece also comes to take care of her. She is very well cared for.”