Facebook encountered an unusual problem recently when a 114-year-old woman was forced to lie about her age in order to be able to use the popular social media website. Minnesota’s oldest resident Anna Stoehr wanted to learn how to email, use Google search, and join Facebook after her 85-year-old son Harlan purchased an iPhone from Verizon sales representative Joseph Ramireza.
Joseph was working at the St. Francis Wireless Zone store when Harlan bought his new phone. The two gentlemen struck up a conversation. Joseph found out about Anna when Harlan just could not stop talking about his mother and Joseph asked him how old his mother was. When Joseph discovered how old Anna really was, he just had to meet her.
Anna lives in a Plainview nursing home and Joseph drove 2 hours about a half dozen times from the Twin Cities just to tutor her about the modern technology. Her son Harlan is not surprised by his mother’s curiosity with modern technology. He said that his mother has always been curious about a number of things and that she will always continue to be this way.
However, when Anna tried to create her Facebook page, she kept getting denied access. Joseph said that no matter what he tried to do, it just would not validate. Anna discovered that Facebook only goes back to 1905 when you enter a birthday date. The year Anna was born is 1900.
Since Anna couldn’t select the right year, she did what many others on the Internet have done before, although usually it has been younger users under Facebook’s requirement of being at least 13 years of age. . She selected the 1905 date and lied about her age. Friends and family were a bit surprised when they received a birthday notification announcing her 99th birthday. She enlisted the help of Joseph Ramireza to chronicle her experience using an old typewriter to compose a letter to CEO Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Her message was short and sweet: “I’m still here.”
Anna was raised in a home that had no phone, no electric lights, and no car. She resided in her farmhouse by herself until she was 112 years old. She is not only the oldest person living in Minnesota, she is also the seventh oldest living American according to an organization that keeps track of super-centenarians. She is only two years younger than the oldest recorded person, who is a 116-year-old Arkansas woman.
Joseph and Anna have built a strong friendship and regularly meet together for breakfast. Anna even teased him when Joseph tried to find out more about Susan B. Anthony in a Google search. Her response: “I could have told you that.” Joseph described their friendship as being something along the lines of being kindred spirits.
Anna celebrated her 114th birthday this past Sunday with her friends and family at the senior community where she resides. She is enjoying her newfound technical knowledge by happily FaceTiming with her friends and family using her iPad. According to her newly created Facebook page, she has over 31 friends already and has even activated Facebook mobile.
By Valerie Bordeau
Photo By: Jay Cameron-Creativecommons Flickr