Top of the Morning, Sept. 21, 2014

Top of the Morning, Sept. 21, 2014

I wanted to kick off our series on Active Aging Week by spotlighting Anne Johnston, who's run Campus Florist for 73 years.

Trouble is, she wouldn't tell me her age.

"Just say I'm 125," she said.

Anyway, Active Aging Week doesn't do a go-getter like Anne justice. She handles aging a lot better than the Illini handled Texas State on Saturday.

"What keeps me going is having something to do," she said. "When you stop, that's not a good idea."

She opened her flower shop in '41, when FDR was president, Joe DiMaggio had his hit streak, Mount Rushmore was completed and "Citizen Kane" premiered on the big screen. At the UI "there were 250 cars on campus and 10,000 students," Anne said. "It's changed — in all ways."

What hasn't is Anne's pace. The dean of Campustown business works seven hours a day, six days a week. While she doesn't attend Illini games anymore — "too much climbing for me" — she's a basketball and football booster club regular. She's been so productive for so long that she's been given two keys to the city, one so heavy "I can't even lift it any more."

"Before when I walked down the street, everybody knew me," she said. "Now I'm just one in a crowd."

I'm not buying it. So I asked her how others would describe her.

"Some would say 'She's an SOB' and that's probably true in a lot of ways. Others would say 'She's been around a long time.' Or 'She keeps going and going.'

"I would say 'Plenty of times I could have given up. Business wasn't always good and neither was life on campus. But I kept going.' "

All the way to 125.

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