‘Keep Moving’: Germantown Man Relishes Life at 100 | Columbia County
GERMANTOWN – Longtime Germantown resident Francisco Pereira’s credo for a long life is twofold: don’t be lazy, keep moving.
Pereira turns 100 on Friday. He has lived in Germantown for over 50 years and attributes much of his success in life to his hard work.
“I have no secrets,” Pereira said. “I eat, I work, I walk. Don’t be lazy, keep moving, keep moving, do anything, don’t be lazy, you live longer.
Pereira shared stories about his childhood on a farm and how the lessons of hard work have remained with him throughout his life.
Pereira was born January 7, 1922 in Rhode Island. During the Great Depression, his father moved the family to Portugal where his father was from when he was 6, and where he was raised on a farm by his aunt. He returned to the United States at the age of 26.
“It’s not easy work on the farm,” Pereira said. “A farm is 24 hours a day. We grew all kinds of things, potatoes, onions, broccoli. “
Pereira was forced to serve in the Portuguese military for over a year despite his US citizenship. Although he was born in the United States, he had to serve because at the time he did not have the proper papers and he was living in Portugal.
When Pereira wanted to return to America, he said, his father told him that the United States was the biggest country in the world, but nothing is free, so you have to work for it. Pereira said he came on a large ship and returned several times over the years to visit.
A lot of people at that time wanted to come to America because everyone could make a better living, he said, and that’s the reason he emigrated here.
Pereira said he worked at a large factory in Yonkers.
“I don’t know what type of factory it is,” Pereira said. “I told them I didn’t like this job, I like working outside. This is how I grew up. I like it outside.
The Pereira moved from Mount Vernon in Westchester County to Germantown around 1966. Pereira said there were better schools here for his children.
“I said I had to get out of here,” Pereira said of Mount Vernon. “That’s what I did. We bought this house for $ 14,000. This time it was a little. Today, $ 14,000 is nothing for houses.
Pereira said hard work allows him to provide for his children and do whatever he can for them.
He started his own business, Pereira Blacktop and Construction, which he owned for 25 years, in Germantown. He opened the business and ran it from his home.
“I put a sign on the front, it’s a good place for business,” Pereira said. “I’m not the smartest man, but neither am I. I know what I want, and that’s what I did.
Pereira has had a number of different hobbies throughout his life. He loves to fish and hunt. When he was 80 he was notable for hunting a nine point buck. He also loves vintage cars – his favorite was an oldsmobile and playing cards with friends.
“I just play for fun, not to be addicted, just to pass the time playing cards,” Pereira said.
Pereira also enjoys watching football. His favorite team? The Giants of New York.
Today, people’s lives are easier and many laws are better, Pereira said.
“I have a good heart, someone is helping me, I am helping them come back,” Pereria said. I am not criticizing anyone. You do what you want, I do what I love. I don’t like lazy people, I work hard, I have a great life, I have a long history.
Pereira’s older brother Americo was shot dead by Spanish police for transporting something considered contraband when he was 21, Pereira said.
“They say if you work too much it kills you, but don’t tell me what to do,” Pereira said. “I still live; they are already dead. I never stop, even today. I don’t stop. I do my exercise, I do my walk. When I have good days, we walk outside in front. Genie (his daughter) takes me out. I like to move around. That’s it, that’s my secret.