Centenarian is one tough cookie
By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photos
On one of their annual trips to Hawaii, Ann Palmieri and her daughter, Michele, were on a sunset dinner cruise in Oahu watching the fire dancers with a group of tourists. Like a celebrity, Ann was surrounded by groups of people who all wanted to take a photo with her. The tourists could not believe the petite energetic woman was getting close to being a centenarian. Ann will celebrate her 100th birthday on June 2.
While other Hawaiian visitors took the shuttle to Waimea Falls, Michele and Ann walked – much to the amazement of the shuttle riders. Michele exclaimed, “We walk everywhere. She’s such a tough cookie that I truly forget how old she is.” Michele described a number of trips the two took together where the idea of taking a taxi was dismissed by Ann. When Ann joined Michele and her friends for a girls’ weekend in Las Vegas a few years ago, Michele said her mom walked way ahead of their group and set the pace instead of the other way around.
Although Ann has lived in the United States for 70 years, her memories of her younger years as a chemist in Germany are strong, and her recollection of details is impressive. When talking about her youth, Ann emphatically exclaimed, “I was defiant. That is me: defiant!”
Ann’s husband, Frank, was Command Sergeant Major at Fitzsimons Army Hospital. Frank’s job is what brought the family to Colorado in 1963. For the past 13 years, Ann has lived independently just around the corner from Michele and her husband, Rick, in Castle Pines. Undaunted by the stairs in her home, Ann walks down them carefully, but not that slowly. In addition to her daughter, Ann has friendly neighbors who check in on her and sometimes will take her out for dinner at Duke’s Steakhouse.
Ann walks all around her Castle Pines neighborhood and has been known to walk to the King Soopers shopping center. Ann would get her hair cut and then shop for groceries, making sure her bag wasn’t too heavy for the walk home. Michele said, “Mom would tell the produce guy at King Soopers she was walking home and he would insist on driving her home!”
Michele and Ann have had many adventures together. In addition to their Hawaii trips, they enjoy excursions to the mountains. They walked the trail to the Isak Heartstone sculpture in Breckenridge and take annual visits to have wienerschnitzel at Pepi’s Restaurant at the Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer in Vail Village. They always stay at a hotel with a pool for Ann. Michele said, “She doesn’t dip in the pool; she does laps!”
For Ann’s 68th Mother’s Day, Michele is going to make prime rib. Ann’s only request for her 100th birthday celebration in June is a barbecued steak at home. “Michele’s a good cook!” Ann remarked.