Wonder Woman paid a visit to the Aime J. Forand Housing Complex on Greenville Avenue Tuesday, or at least that’s what Bev Williams calls Theresa Esposito, a Forand resident who celebrated her 100th birthday this week.
“Now that’s some kind of wonder woman,” said Williams, who was recently elected president of the Forand Tenants Association. “The remarkable thing is that she lives alone.”
Esposito is still independent as a centenarian, but she has plenty of support in the Forand and Johnston communities.
“Some people check on her ... she’s got a lot of friends who constantly make sure she’s okay and has enough food,” Williams said.
Esposito was barely in the community room at Forand on Tuesday when a crowd of nearly 100 people burst into song in honor of the Johnston resident’s 100th birthday.
“What an amazing milestone, 100 years of life, 100 years of memories,” said David aRusso, executive director of the Johnston Housing Authority.
aRusso, who was one of several speakers at Tuesday’s centennial celebration, said it’s people like Esposito who make his job worthwhile.
“Anytime we can acknowledge not only the longevity of those we serve, but the fact that we can provide a home where a person can maintain independence to this age, is cause for happy commemoration,” he said.
The speaking program also included Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, State Rep. Deb Fellela and Brock Manville, a banker who handles Esposito’s finances.
As guests enjoyed a luncheon provided by Silvio’s of Johnston, it was Polisena who really livened up an already emotional party.
After reading a proclamation in honor of Esposito, who was born in Providence on Jan. 10, 1912, Polisena asked the one-time jewelry worker if she would do anything differently given the chance, such as marry a millionaire.
Esposito told the mayor to forget about it; she says her love life isn’t worth mentioning, or at least marriage doesn’t appear to be her secret to longevity.
“Hey, I kicked the bum out,” she said, as the crowd burst into laughter.
“She’s such a sweetheart,” said Irene Dyer, a soft-spoken woman who Housing Authority staffers Karen Aitchison and Cheryl Jackson commended for being Esposito’s watchful neighbor. “Is she ever independent or what? And we’re blessed, too; she’s crazy about our family.”
The staff and residents at Forand are equally fond of Esposito, who has lived at the facility for the past 15 years.
“Everyone who either works or lives here loves Theresa,” said Property Manager Carol Costa.