“Bacon makes everything better.”—a sign in Susannah Mushatt Jones’s kitchen.

As of today, March 10, 2016, the 19th Century is still alive. Two individuals born in the century before last, Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn, New York, and Emma Morano of Verbania, Italy, are still with us. Each was born in 1899. Thus, the last breath of that century is nearly here. They are the two oldest people on the planet. The third oldest, a Jamaican woman named Violet Brown, turns 116 today, but she was born in 1900; she is the oldest person alive who was born in the 20th Century.

That said, either one of these two women could yet outlive me. (I started cleaning the back porch two days ago and I am still out of breath. I’m 47 going on a not very robust 88.) Further, although each woman is on the top 20 list of longest lived people of all time, they have several years to catch up to Jeanne Calment of Arles, France, who died in 1997 at the age of 122. No one with the paperwork to prove it has lived longer than Jeanne Calment did.

Miss Mushatt Jones is 116 years and 248 days old today. She was born on July 6, 1899, in Alabama, and one of her grandparents was a slave. When Jeralean Talley died in June, 2015, at the age of 116, Miss Jones became the oldest verified person on Earth. “I’m the oldest person in the world? No I’m not,” she is said to have exclaimed to her relatives.

Miss Morano was born on November 29, 1899, 116 years and 102 days ago.
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