Caught up in a wave of nostalgia, perhaps, Flo Doty lost track of time Thursday evening.

At 6:30 most nights, the centenarian who turns 102 today watches her favorite show, "Wheel of Fortune."

“Don’t tell me you haven’t seen Pat (Sajack) and Vanna (White)?” she said, sitting in her apartment at Jersey Ridge Place, an assisted-living and memory care center in Davenport. “It’s one of the best shows, but I’m annoyed with the amount of advertisements.”

Although Doty is battling a “slight bit” of dementia, according to her caretakers, the woman who raised four children and worked as an office secretary most of her life, still has her humor and quick wit.

“My memory’s not the best because I’m 102, but I have my moments,” she said. “And I’m the oldest here, which is some distinction, I guess.”

Doty, evidently, doesn’t let her age hold her back much.

“She comes to almost everything,” said Jessi Stoffers, the activity director at Jersey Ridge Place. “Most people her age are ready to die, but she seems like she’s going to live forever.”

As of Thursday, Doty seemed to agree.

“If I don’t feel good I’ll be glad to go, but as long as I feel all right, there’s no problem,” said Doty, who grew up in Madison, Wis., and married an Iowan before moving to Davenport several decades ago.

At times, Doty still is very sharp.

As she reminisced about various inventions she has witnessed throughout her life, Doty said she still is amazed with the engineering of automobiles and heavy machines such as John Deere tractors.

On the flip side, she couldn’t care less about modern technology.

“It’s a shame, but I don’t care,” said Doty, a proud Lutheran who has a rotary-dial-style telephone. “There’s nothing new that interests me nowadays.”

Looking back, she recalled winning $70 at a casino once and rattled off a list of names of former friends and neighbors.

“Those were the beautiful years — the early ones,” she said. “You know, things weren’t so complicated.”

But things in her small apartment, which she shares with her 15-pound cat named Tiger, are pretty simple these days.

“You get three meals, and somebody cleans your apartment, so you really can’t ask for anything else,” she said. “As long as I can eat, sleep and have fun with the other old ladies here, I’ll be all right.”

 

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Jack Cullen writes about various sides of life across the Quad-City area in his Notes @ Noon column, which appears online at noon on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. He also covers the outdoors for a weekly section that runs in Saturday's print edition of the Quad-City Times and online at qctimes.com. Outside of work, you can find Jack on the tennis court, where he serves as a coach at Augustana College in Rock Island, his alma mater.