At 104, Cipriano is thankful for each day

At 104, Cipriano is thankful for each day

Staff at Darlington Assisted Living in Pawtucket threw a little celebration for Dorothy Cipriano, who turned 104 on April 20.

PAWTUCKET – Born in 1917, Dorothy Cipriano, of Pawtucket, has lived through two pandemics now, but the 104-year-old said she has had few complaints about her life.

“I’m enjoying my life at this moment, even though I have a few things going wrong with old age,” Cipriano told The Breeze last week. “I’ve been pretty good.”

Cipriano, who lives at Darlington Assisted Living on Armistice Boulevard in Pawtucket, celebrated her 104th birthday on April 20. Her son, Albert Cipriano Jr., had a cake delivered while the staff provided balloons and a little celebration for her.

Albert told The Breeze that longevity runs in his mother’s family: one of her sisters died earlier this year at age 100 and her other sisters all lived well into their mid- to late-90s.

“I’ve been blessed to have her all these years,” he said. “The longevity has made for a happy family.”

He credits that longevity with her Mediterranean diet; she eats a lot of salads and very few fried foods and meat. “A little glass of wine every day doesn’t hurt,” he added.

One of her favorite lines to say, he said, is that she’s tired and if God wants her, that’s fine, but she’s not going to help him.

When she reflects back on her life, Cipriano said it was a long trip.

“The road was a little bit rough at times. You have your ups and downs, good times and sad times. You have tears and love. There’s so much that goes on in your lifetime; you see so much.”

In 1907, Cipriano’s parents, Evaristo and Guiseppa Cipriano, emigrated from Italy to Providence. They had six children, five daughters and one son. Evaristo, who had been in the police force in Italy, worked as a builder here and built many homes on Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, Albert said.

Her parents had a business across from where Albert’s father’s family had a business and that’s how his parents met, he said. His father, Albert Cipriano Sr., died in 1993. After his death, his wife was quite depressed. She said she didn’t want to live anymore and wanted to be with my father, Albert said. “I guess she changed her mind. It’s 2021.”

For many years Cipriano worked as an office manager at Carol Cable Company in Pawtucket, he said of his mother. Albert was an only child. “I’m very special,” he said, laughing, adding that he has two daughters.

“She was a hell of a cook,” he said of his mom, noting that she liked to make pear pies. “She always liked to garden. Pear trees were the love of her life.”

Cipriano told The Breeze that everything is different today than when she was growing up.

“Everything was done the hard way,” she said. “Now you just press a button.”

Since she was only 1 when the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic hit, Cipriano said she doesn’t remember anything about it, but she knows her parents had friends and relatives who fell ill.

“I didn’t think I’d get up to 104 to see something like this,” she said about the COVID-19 pandemic. “Every day you go to sleep, saying a prayer and thanks for (another) day.”