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Newberg centenarian says a glass of wine a day may be the secret to her longevity

SUSAN BRANNON - 100 year-old Ingrid Mueller holds a photograph of her husband and herself on their wedding day in Las Vegas. They remained married for 67 years.

Newberg recently celebrated the second 100th birthday in less than a month, this one for resident Ingrid Muller.

Mueller was born in Askov, Minn., on March 10, 1918. She grew up on a farm with eight siblings -- four brothers and four sisters.

She was married for 67 years to Oscar Mueller and they have one son and one daughter, seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

The family owned a walnut and fruit tree farm in Newberg for decades.

What is her secret to living a century?

"I'm just one of those lucky people to live so long," she said.

Daughter-in-law Mary Sue Mueller said her mother's longevity might have also benefitted from an occasional nip of spirits.

"She had a glass of wine daily," Mary Sue Mueller said.

"I don't even feel old. But then some people have problems earlier than others," Ingrid Mueller said.

Mueller has always been healthy in spite of milking cows in minus-20 degree winters in Minnesota.

"I used to run from the house to the barn. The barn was warm you know. Sometimes they would have to shovel a path out of the snow for me to get there every morning," she recalled.

The family's income came from selling cream from the milk.

"We got to have whipped cream on Easter and Christmas. Otherwise, we drank skim milk," Ingrid Mueller said, adding that every meal was made from scratch. "You couldn't buy anything back then."

She recounted that she had to milk "that cow" every morning before school and in the winter the ride to school was via a horse and sled.

"We used to walk a quarter of a mile to catch the bus when the weather was nicer," she said.

Farm life may have been a contributing factor to her endurance.

"We had work to do, but we also had time for play as children," Ingrid Mueller said. The family raised their own food. She did not eat the processed food that is available now. They did not have electricity and used kerosene lamps at night. They did not have cars or tractors. The Mueller's life revolved around her parents, siblings and her grandparents, all who lived together on the farm.

"My dad would sit up all night with the wooden heater. It was dangerous and he would stay up to watch it. I don't think that he thought anything about it. It is just what you did, you know. We didn't know the difference. It is how it was," she explained.

She was 11 when the Depression descended on America, 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country's banks had failed. Food was scarce and many jobs were reduced to part-time.

"We did well because we lived in the country. My dad always thought that we were lucky. I remember that there was a railroad car that would stop and deliver food because so many people were hungry. People were starving: oh, it was awful. We don't want that ever to happen again," she recounted. "My mother was so good because she did not like to see people go hungry, so she would let people sit outside (and feed them). It didn't take long before we had a lot of hobos hanging around. Word got around rather quickly."

"People had to work hard to make it. This is what I think is the matter today with all the young people. So many think they have it coming without (working). Everybody should learn to work and do something. They need to appreciate a few things," Ingrid Mueller said. "A lot of people are running around that don't care. I always worry because it always ends with a war. I ask my great-grandson, I wonder how it is going to be when he's my age."

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