Gladys Hahn celebrated her 104th birthday Saturday with family and friends at Quail Ridge Senior Living. The San Francisco Native of Portuguese parents married her German husband Charles and raised two boys, just like normal people and says she doesn’t know why she has lived this long. She and her husband ran a corner grocery store in San Francisco, she lost her husband a quarter century ago and her oldest son Robert died when he was just 75 years old. Hahn who is a natural storyteller says she can remember things like being 6 and having her tonsils out.
“I can still remember the nurse wheeling me down the hall to surgery and she was trying to calm me down and she was singing to me. These are the things that I remember. But what you tell me five minutes ago, I’ve forgotten.”
Hahn says she wanted to be a nurse but her parents sent her to business school. Then World War 2 came and she got another calling.
“In Germany, Hitler had destroyed the bibles of the blind and they were asking if anyone wanted to be a braillist, and it was something I could do at home. I had two kids to raise and it was something that I was interested in.”
Hahn got her diploma in brailing and for years translated books, to this day she has a soft spot for those who cannot see.
“I learned so much about being around blind people. They are wonderful people and I just have a lot of admiration for people who cannot see.”
Hahn also worked for years as a pink lady helping those in need of assistance at El Camino Hospital in the Bay Area.
The petite woman with few wrinkles in her peach skin just a couple years ago started using a walker. In the old days she says she would have celebrated a birthday with a vodka gimlet, but for her 104th birthday, she will settle for a chocolate éclair.