Fall River Grandmother Turns 90, But In Reality She’s Only 23
I'm blessed to say that at the age of 34, I still have a grandparent. My grandmother's name is Jean Arsenault and on Feb. 29, 2022, she turned 90 years old.
If you haven't figured it out quite yet, she's a leap-year baby. If we're getting technical, she's only about 23 years old. Every four years, she gets to celebrate her actual birthday, but on the years that only have 28 days in February, we celebrate accordingly.
My French side of the family refers to her as Mémé and she's the family matriarch. Born and raised in Fall River, she's resided at her current home for quite a few years. At least since I was born. When she's not watching her daily soap operas, she spends her time reading books and running errands. Her life is quiet, simple, but the one thing she adores the most is company. Especially when it's family.
There's something so comforting about a home-cooked meal and grandmas do it best. For me, it's my Mémé's homemade mashed potatoes that everyone raves about and you won't find anything as creamy as her recipe anywhere else.
At 90, Mémé Arsenault has seen quite a lot and she shares with us how it really feels to have a birthday land on a leap year.
"My father and mother treated it as a normal date," Arsenault said. "I never waited four years for a gift, but at the same time, I also never really thought about it as being a strange birth date."
However, as computer systems at the RMV began taking over filing systems, Arsenault ran into a snag that impacted her license for years.
"When I went to the registry and had to give my date, the 29th wasn't an available option since computers were so new," she said. "So I told them to either give me the 28th of February or March 1 to display on my license. I went with March 1, and eventually, as computers upgraded, they were able to fix and update my license to the proper date that I was born -- the 29th."
I asked Mémé Arsenault if she had the power to change the date of her birthday to any other date and she said she'd much rather have it during a warmer month or even the fall as she's not a big fan of the cold weather.
"Technically I'm only 23 years old in leap years, so I guess you can say I'm in the prime of my life," she said. "And if I had one wish, even though I haven't had a sip of alcohol in many years, I'd have a margarita!"