Published December 21, 2011
Born in Spain in the early 20th century, Jose Pascua and Antonia Patino - married to each other for 78 years - on Wednesday became an example of longevity and perseverance by both celebrating their 103rd birthdays.
Antonia and Jose, neighbors in the central town of Hinojosa de Duero, were born, respectively on Aug. 14, 1908, and Dec. 21, 1908, and they celebrated their birthdays on Wednesday.
It must be something in their family's genes that has enabled them to live so long - although one of their sons, Santiago, is already deceased - since Antonia and Jose got to know their grandparents, four great-grandparents and two great-great-grandparents.
Also, Antonia's parents and grandparents all lived past 90 and an uncle made it to 105, she told Efe.
"The truly surprising thing is the state of health of both of them," except for Jose's hearing, which is starting to fail, although their other senses are in virtually perfect shape, said son Angel Pascua.
The couple, who have 16 nieces and nephews and 8 great-nieces and -nephews, lives a normal live in the town and up until last year they managed an orchard in back of their home.
Now, the orchard is being tended by other family members, Antonia said, adding that over the years she had combined her farmwork with domestic duties.
Jose, who worked as a farmer and railroad employee, recalled the coming of electricity to the town, along with sad experiences like the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War.
The couple laugh if they are asked when they first watched anything on television: One of their sons brought one to them and it was the first TV set in the town.
At first, the admitted, they did not like it, but after a few days they were glued to the set and their neighbors came over to have a look at it, intrigued by the new device.
Nowadays, though, every evening they gather by the heater to play cards.