One glass of red wine per day, that’s the ticket to longevity for Revere native and long-time resident Carmela Ranno, who turned 100 years old last Sunday, Aug. 23.
“Everyone asks her how she lived to be so old,” said her daughter, Connie LaSala, 80, of Fernwood Avenue. “She enjoys her glass of wine when she has her macaroni. One glass a day. She feels that’s what gives her the longevity and what keeps her the way she is. She still reads a lot. She reads without glasses honestly. I look at her with amazement. In fact, she read her birthday cards to us without a problem.”
Ranno was given a birthday party on Sunday with all of her family present, including her daughter, Connie, and her sons, John (Shirley) and Anthony (Florida).
Also at that party was a small army of descendants, as she has 17 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.
“She came here when she was four and stayed in Revere until about 10 years ago when she moved to Florida because she couldn’t take the winters anymore,” said Connie. “She loves Revere.”
Ranno was born to Italian immigrant parents in Boston’s West End and came to Revere at the age of four, when her parents – Andrew DeMore and Lea (Caria) DeMore – decided to leave the city for a more quiet, residential area.
They found Fernwood Street, where they settled at number 41. They raised Carmela and eight other siblings in that house on Fernwood Avenue. Carmela – the oldest of the family – has two living siblings out of her four brothers and four sisters.
“Her parents found a house on Fernwood Avenue and wanted a big family and wanted a home in more of a residential area,” said Connie. “So, they moved to Revere and they lived there at 41 Fernwood Avenue until they passed.”
Carmela’s father was a paper cutter for the Globe Ticket Company and her mother was a homemaker.
Carmela attended the Shurtleff School, and worked briefly in Boston as a seamstress before getting married at the age of 17 to the late Aurelio Ranno.
Carmela didn’t stray far from home, though. In fact, she moved into the house next door to her parents, 31 Fernwood Ave.
It was in that house that Carmela perfected her famous recipes – especially that of her meatballs.
“She’s known for her special meatballs,” said Connie. “Everyone also loved her gravy and her eggplant parm. My mom is a fabulous cook. She still does a little of it. She sits at the table in her wheelchair and she’ll put her hand in it. She’ll peel something. She’s a great woman.”