Woman celebrates 115th birthday

The world’s oldest person turned 115 years old today. KPCC’s John Rabe went to Gertrude Baines’ birthday party in L.A.’s West Adams neighborhood.

The world’s oldest person turned 115 years old today. KPCC’s John Rabe went to Gertrude Baines’ birthday party in L.A.’s West Adams neighborhood.

John Rabe: Baines received plaques or letters from politicians and community leaders. Local TV news crews were there. So was someone from the Guinness Book of World Records. Photographers pushed little kids out of the way to get a shot of her.

Baines sat on a wheeled bed, wrapped in blankets, wearing a pretty lavender turban. She kept her eyes closed – and didn’t say a word. Dr. Stephen Coles, who runs the Supercentenarian Research Foundation, says Baines hates the fuss as much as she hates the questions about what she remembers from her 115 years – the first car, the first movie, the first World War.

Dr. Stephen Coles: She is simply not interested in those kinds of stories. But when you get her started on her personal life, like her ex-husband, you know she will go on and on about how he did her wrong. Then you can’t shut her up.

Rabe: To be fair, Baines seemed to like the uniform the Dodgers sent as a gift, and the hand-made cards from a bunch of kids who crowded around her. Those made her smile.

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