It’s Party Time! What Do You Expect When You Turn 105?

Print icon

NEW BRITAIN – Lena Pepe smiled broadly when Jerome Home kitchen staff presented her with a large floral birthday cake and celebration banner on Sept. 3. She swiped her finger along the side to sample the vanilla frosting, modeled her tiara and admired the inscription, “Happy 105th Birthday, Lena” as her daughter, Jacki Czerwinski, gave her a hug.

Edward and Lena Pepe pose on their wedding day in the early 1930s when they were 22 and 21, respectively.

This guest of honor has always had an upbeat view of life. She loves to chat about her husband, Eddie, who she met at a dance. Dancing was one of their favorite pastimes. Sometimes they would twirl the night away on the Lake Compounce ballroom dance floor often to the music of the big bands. “I loved all the dances,” she said. “Eddie looked like a movie star: 6-foot tall, coal black hair and  and handsome.”

They married young and they both worked in local factories. She recalled it wasn’t easy when he went to serve in World War II. They raised their son and daughter in Kensington and enjoyed the simple pleasures of life: relaxing in a park, taking a Sunday drive, relishing her delicious Italian meals.

“It was heaven,” she said. “He couldn’t do enough for me.”

And there was ice cream, especially strawberry. “

There is always room for ice cream,” she said as she savored a cup of vanilla recently.

As she got older, family decided it was best if she lived at an assisted-living community. First an Arbor Rose resident, she transitioned to Jerome Home five years ago. She’s a flashy dresser – always wearing a dress or skirt, often with a coordinated shawl – and is known for her sparkles and love of the color green. Many wedding photos and her Happy 100th birthday banner decorate her walls.

When asked her view on living to 105 years old, she didn’t have advice. But the clues may be in her sunny attitude, dancing and love of ice cream.

Jerome Home, at 975 Corbin Ave. in New Britain, offers skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation, residential care, memory care and assisted living, and is a not for profit member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services. For more information about Jerome Home, click here.





What's New

Healthy Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Fall Classic: Healthy Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Pumpkin anyone? It’s fall, which means it’s pumpkin season. Pumpkin is certainly an appropriate choice in a healthy diet. Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A, potassium, fiber and antioxidants like beta-carotene. One cup cooked is only 49 calories, with 12 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber and no fat....

Heart & Vascular Institute Has a New Home in the East

Because of the continued expansion of services, the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute has officially moved its Norwich office, formerly located on 164 Otrobando Ave., to a newly renovated 7,000-square-foot space at 111 Salem Turnpike in Norwich (the former Ames plaza).  The new center offers comprehensive and convenient outpatient...


Second EEE Death in State History As More Towns Report Infected Mosquitoes

The first human case of Eastern equine encephalitis of the season, only the second reported in Connecticut history, has produced a chorus of caution from public health officials, medical professions and local communities. The message: Protect yourself from mosquitoes, which transmit the disease, and limit outdoor activity in the twilight...

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention: When People Offering Help Actually Need It

Two recent high-profile suicide deaths of men who worked with those at-risk for suicide highlights the increased suicide rate for those who provide services and care. The importance or raising awareness in September, National Suicide Prevention Month, is highlighted by the deaths of Gregory Eells, the executive director of counseling...

How to Prevent a Suicide? Ask the ‘Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge’

As a California Highway Patrol Officer, Sgt. Kevin Briggs worked on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, often with suicidal people, but his own struggles with depression made his presentation Sept. 13 even more impactful at the seventh annual World Suicide Prevention Conference at Heublein Hall at Hartford Hospital....

A panel discussion at the World Suicide Prevention Day

Panel: Suicide Prevention Starts with Empathy, Building Connections

As part of the seventh Annual World Suicide Prevention Day Conference Sept. 13, Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network hosted a panel presentation about the role of healthcare providers in suicide prevention. The panel included Behavioral Health Network Physician-in-Chief John Santopietro; Sgt. Kevin Briggs, a retired California Highway Patrol officer and national speaker;...