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Retiring at 100, Full of Life's Lessons

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Retiring at 100, Full of Life's Lessons

Retiring at 100, Full of Life's Lessons

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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It's time again for StoryCorps, the oral history project traveling the country collecting your stories.

These interviews are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and excerpts are played here on Fridays.

Today we hear from Arthur Winston. Just last week he turned 100-years-old, an occasion he celebrated partly by retiring. We marked his retirement, briefly, on this program. Arthur Winston had been maintaining buses at the L.A. Metropolitan Transit Authority for more than 70 years. Before retirement, he sat down with his great-grandnephew Eric Anthony Givens at StoryCorps. The two talked about his legendary work record and what he plans to do next.

Mr. ERIC ANTHONY GIVENS (StoryCorps Participant): What's the secret to working so long and why do you do it?

Mr. ARTHUR WINSTON (StoryCorps Participant): Well, I like my job. You can't stay on any job 70 some years if you don't like it, so I got perfect record. From 1934 until today, missed one day of work.

Mr. GIVENS: That's about 72 years.

Mr. WINSTON: That's right, missed one workin' day.

Mr. GIVENS: Now, has your job changed a lot...

Mr. WINSTON: It changed a lot, changed a lot.

Mr. GIVENS: Uh-huh.

Mr. WINSTON: Job has changed, managers change, I still stay there.

Mr. GIVENS: A lot of people wonder how a person lives to be a hundred years old. What do you think you did that allowed you to live so long, healthy?

Mr. WINSTON: Well, we're livin' too fast on junk food. Taste good but I don't fool with it.

Mr. GIVENS: A lot of people today try to do things to fight growin' old and the last time I talked to you, you had made a comment about Viagra...

Mr. WINSTON: Oh no, no.

Mr. GIVENS: You were talkin' about Viagra.

Mr. WINSTON: Yeah, you don't worry about that you can't do, don't worry about it. And trouble of it today, people seem like they can't get their... They go to the store-and they're on these talkin' phones all day and night, tryin' to work and talk on them phones all the same time.

Mr. GIVENS: Right.

Mr. WINSTON: Everybody. Kids got their little phones and they're talkin'. I don't have one of 'em. I don't need nobody keep up with me that tight all day long and night and I ain't gonna keep up with nobody all day and night.

Mr. GIVENS: Right.


Mr. GIVENS: What would you like to talk about?

Mr. WINSTON: We gone too far in life with credit cards. Credit interest is killin' ya. People don't understand that. I don't have a one of those credit card.

Mr. GIVENS: Right.

Mr. WINSTON: I don't have to have all this luxury stuff. If I can't afford it, I don't bother with it. I can do without it.

Mr. GIVENS: Mm hmm. What do you plan to do after you retire?

Mr. WINSTON: You can't wait till 99 to do hardly anything. See, you know, I did a lot of goin' all the way up. I did all Europe, Asia and all around-Hawaii, and Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, and Tahiti, and everywhere else. I rode a freight train further than some people have rode inside. Wasn't scared to go nowhere.

Mr. GIVENS: Uh-huh. That's amazing to be a hundred years old, still working, still in good health, and still smart, bright...

Mr. WINSTON: If I go to think about how old I am I won't be able to get up in the morning and go to work.

Mr. GIVENS: Right.

Mr. WINSTON: I don't worry about age. I don't think about it. Moses and all them(unintelligible), lot of people are gonna live 800, 900 years. I think I'm gonna live 900 like all the rest of them (unintelligible).

Mr. GIVENS: (Laughs) Well, I know you've inspired me, and I love you and I think what you have to say is important. You've lived in a time and an era where so much has changed...

Mr. WINSTON: That's right.

Mr. GIVENS: And you're still here to talk about it, so thank you very much Uncle Arthur.

Mr. WINSTON: Thank you.

Mr. GIVENS: Love you.

Mr. WINSTON: (Laughs)

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MONTAGNE: Arthur Winston with his great-grandnephew Eric Anthony Givens. Arthur Winston plans an active retirement, including volunteer work at senior centers.

To learn more about StoryCorps, make a reservation for your interview or hear additional stories, visit

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