Armida De La Ossa was born in Santa Cruz, Sonora on January 26, 1915. Today she lives in Patagonia, and according to her children, she doesn’t think that being 100 years old is anything to get excited about. She still does her own cooking and washing and hangs her laundry on the line. When one of her many family members gave her a cane, Armida put it in the garage. “Those are for old people,” she said.
She had eight children. All but the youngest were born with a midwife at home. Those children have now given her 20 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren, and 3 great great-grandchildren. Her eldest child, Adalina Beyerle, counts 73 family members, many of whom came to Armida’s 100th birthday party in January, filling her yard and her house with celebration.
This amazing centenarian lived most of her life in and around Lochiel, as her husband, Abel, worked as both a ranch hand and a miner. She cooked on a wood stove, did laundry by hand, drew water from a well, and made bread and tortillas every day. She raised animals for meat, milk, cheese and eggs, and in summer she would go to Santa Cruz, stock up on fruits and vegetables, bring them home and can them. Once a month the family would go to Nogales with a list of supplies that included large quantities of flour, sugar and lard. There would be a visit to J.C. Penney’s for clothing for the family.
Every spring Armida would order 200 baby chicks from Sears. She did a thriving business selling eggs and cheese to the miners and their families. The children were her delivery service. “We walked a lot,” remembers daughter Ophalia Spence.
In 1966, Abel De La Ossa went into the cattle business, which meant he would be traveling. He moved the family to Patagonia so they would be near school and medical help. Arnulfo, the oldest son, built the house where Armida still lives.
The De La Ossa children say that Armida does not want help with anything. A steadfast Catholic, she stopped walking to mass just a few years ago. She is independent and a little stubborn. Not long ago, she told her friends and family her recipe for good health and a long life. “Never go to the doctor, never take medication, and drink a glass of tequila before bed. It will help you sleep.”