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Mimi Greeley (YouTube)

No big deal

War nurse Mimi Greeley at 100: “Yes, I saw J.F.K. with no pants on”

By WITW Staff on March 4, 2016

Preparing to celebrate her 100th birthday on Thursday, former nurse Mimi Greeley gave a number of interviews, looking back on her storied life with a great sense of humor. Greeley, who resides alone in Manhattan, has a sharp mind and a rapier wit and still enjoys a highly independent lifestyle. As for her physical health? “Well, I can’t whip my weight in wildcats, but I feel O.K.,” she told the New York Times.

Greeley puts in a call every night to her old friend “Brownie” — formerly Ruth Brown and now Ruth Girk. The two served together as Army nurses during World War II, shipping out in 1943 to work in far-flung locales including Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. Girk, who lives in Arizona, is close in age to Greeley, turning 100 in June. “100 is almost vulgar!” says Greeley, laughing, in a video made by New York-Presbyterian. “It’s too long, isn’t it? Gosh.”

Greeley has lived in New York City since the end of the war, working at what is now called New York-Presbyterian, where she numbered a young Senator John F. Kennedy among her patients. She recalls him being constantly on the phone while bathing — “I thought for sure he’d be electrified” — and wearing a long pajama top with no bottoms, to spare a wound on his lower back. “Yes, I saw J.F.K. with no pants on,” the candid centenarian told the Times. “It was no big deal.”

Both women became widowed in their 80s. Although they speak daily, they haven’t been able to travel to see one another for around ten years.

“We’ve always appreciated our friendship, but as it gets later and later, we appreciate it more,” Girk told The Associated Press.

“We’re sort of like sisters — that get along,” Greeley added.

Read the full story at The New York Times and AP.