The truth didn’t set Anna Stoehr free on Facebook. A lie did. Well, a little white lie.
The 113-year-old Plainview, Minn., resident recently joined Facebook in much the same way countless whippersnappers under the age of 13 do (at least the ones who aren’t already soooo totally over it, that is). Stoehr fudged her age by a few years. Technically, when she activated her account on the world’s largest social network, she was 113 years young, but she said she was 99.
You can’t really blame her, though. She kind of had to.
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Facebook’s list of valid years of birth only reaches back to 1905. Stoehr, currently crowned the most senior person in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, was born near Manning, Iowa, in 1900, more than a century before Mark Zuckerberg launched Thefacebook.com from his Harvard dorm room.
Obviously there was no such thing as social media back when Stoehr was born. If you wanted to know what your friends and family were up to, you paid them a visit, wrote them a letter or sent a telegram. Or, if you were lucky enough to have a telephone, you -- get ready for this -- called them. For years, Stoehr’s family didn’t have a phone, a car or electricity, so says Boyd Huppert, a Minneapolis NBC KARE-TV reporter who first told the unusual story of Stoehr’s late-life fascination with technology.
Now, to keep in touch with her loved ones (and a few new friends across the pond, too) from her nursing home, the bubbly, ever-curious centenarian not only Facebooks from time to time, she also FaceTimes too.
Stoehr has Joseph Ramireza to thank for her newfound tech-savviness. The Verizon sales rep started teaching her the tech ropes -- how to search Google, send email and, yes, join Facebook -- back in August, after selling her 85-year-old son Harlan an iPhone at St. Francis Wireless Zone.
So far, she seems to be getting the hang of social media. Stoehr now has 31 friends on Facebook, recently updated her profile pic (to a smile-filled, multi-generational birthday snapshot, of course, cake, candles and all) and even activated Facebook Mobile for, “you betcha,’” posting on the go.
When Ramireza helped transcribe a letter to Facebook from Stoehr, ironically on an old-fashioned typewriter, her message to Zuck simply read: “I’m still here.”
And we’re glad she is. Let’s all raise a toast (or a Facebook post) to Ms. Stoehr today, which just so happens to be the day before her 114th birthday. Or, well, her 100th... if you go by her gently massaged Facebook profile birthdate. Thanks for reminding us that it’s never too late to learn something new.
To see Stoehr in action, click here.