Wisconsin woman celebrates 101st birthday: 'You only live once'

Most people don't get to plan for their 100th birthday, let alone consider their 101st, but one southeast Wisconsin woman celebrated just that Saturday, Nov. 19.

It's not a birthday they make many signs for, but all signs pointed to Adeline Adams making the very most of it.

"Well hey, you only live once, and I’m surprised I’m here this long," said Adams. "I never thought I’d live this long. Never."

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After more than 90 years of life, Adams only recently learned the name on her birth certificate is different.

"It says ‘Adelina,’ no middle name, there you go. Why did that ever happen?" she said.


Adeline Adams celebrates 101st birthday in Milwaukee

Luckily, Adams has a lifelong nickname – "Jitters."

"She is a dancer, secret dancer, she does the Jitterbug," said Jessica Carlson, Adams' granddaughter. "She’s still moving at 101. It’s incredible."

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When Adams turned 100, her family had a big party to celebrate the decade she was born in. One year later, the celebration was just as sweet at Ice House in Milwaukee, the bar her family used to own.

"We all grew up here, we all worked here, everything," said Adams.

The 101-year-old has four children, 10 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.


Lucky's Ice House at Miller Park Way and Orchard Street

"I’ll bet she’s got another four or fives years at least because she is so full of joy and fun," her son, Jim Peters, said.

"She still reads a book a day, she does crossword puzzles, she watches 'Jeopardy!' and still tries to answer all the questions. She still drinks," said Carlson.

"She’s just really nice a lot. Always helps people," Waylon Carlson, Adams' great-grandson, said.

Adams has outlived two husbands and now lives on her own, still surrounded by love.


Adeline Adams celebrates 101st birthday in Milwaukee

"Well I love all them. That’s why they love me back. You give, and you get back," she said.

Adams' 100-plus years of life give her perspective most people will never get. She shows it's not about how many years of life you get, but how much life you fill them with.

"I tell them to live each day like their last, and the more you get, the happier you are," she said. "Be a nice person. Think good thoughts about everybody – until you know better."

Adams can still move around – that goes for travel, too. She's headed to Las Vegas next week.