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Their lucky number

103 isn’t just these ladies' ages; it’s also their room number

POSTED: July 24, 2011 1:30 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Cleo English, left, and Laura Poole chat in their room, No. 103, Wednesday afternoon at the Oaks at Limestone nursing home in Gainesville. Both ladies are 103 years old as well.

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At the Limestone Heritage Nursing Home in Gainesville, the number 103 has special significance.

It’s the age of roommates Laura Poole and Cleo English.

Sound coincidental? It’s also their room number.

"We didn’t think much about their room number at first, because they moved in years ago, so they were both younger," said Sylvia Poole, Laura Poole’s daughter-in-law.

Although it seems like perfect planning for the duo to have been put together, it really boiled down to chance.

"It was a coincidence," said Jake Poole, a Lula resident and Laura Poole’s son.

"After we got to know (English) we thought they’d make a good match. And we were right."

Although she and English didn’t know much about each other before becoming roommates, they easily became fast friends. Besides both having celebrated their 100th birthday several years ago, both of the ladies grew up in Northeast Georgia. Poole is from Hall County, and English is a native of Habersham County.

"I lived on a farm," Poole said.

"We didn’t have a car. We didn’t need one. We walked some places and we had buggies and wagons with horses to pull them."

The ladies have seen lots of progress, for better or worse, over the years.

They turned 12 years old when the 18th amendment of the U.S. Constitution went into effect and made illegal alcohol sales and manufacturing in the United States. They were 25 when Prohibition was repealed and alcohol became legal again.

English and Poole have outlived presidents, survived economic disasters like the Great Depression and watched entertainment change from a faceless voice on a radio program to high-definition characters on a color TV screen.

They were 61 years old in 1969 when the Apollo 11 landed on the moon and astronaut Neil Armstrong declared, "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," as he became the first man to walk on the moon.

"My son, Charles Poole, worked down at Kennedy (Space Center)," said Laura Poole, who would sometimes go watch shuttle launches and landings.

Although they’ve seen a lot of things come and go, English isn’t overly impressed.

"It changes not," said English, who will celebrate her 104th birthday in August.

"It’s still the same old same."

Although the centenarians are well beyond their school-girl years, that doesn’t mean they can’t get into trouble like one.

"We talk at night until they get after us for making a racket," Poole said with a smile.

Frieda Simmons isn’t surprised that the roommates, who were strangers until about two years ago, get along so well.

"She’s always been a lot of fun," said Simmons, a Lula resident and Poole’s granddaughter.

If you’re looking for a secret diet that is the key to a long life, don’t hold your breath trying to get answers from this pair.

"I don’t eat nothing much," English said.

For these two, longevity is no mystery.

Although she’s surprised that she’s lived to be 103, Poole says the reason behind it is simple.

"I lived this long because the good Lord loves me."



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