After celebrating 109 birthdays and making it through two stints in hospice care, people ask Marjorie Skinner what the secret to life is. But the tried-and-true San Diegan says she's just taking it one step at a time.
"People ask all the time but I don’t really know," Skinner told NBC 7 on her birthday Tuesday. "It’s just like, day after day goes by and I lived another day."
"No, there’s no secret potion. I wish there was," she said with a laugh.
Skinner is back in a hospice facility in Rancho San Diego for the third time in five years. She jokes that after her condition improved on two other occasions, the doctors told her on her that she had "graduated."
But Skinner says she actually prefers being there. She has her favorite animal-centric television shows. She gets to go on walks with her dog. And she has a community of people to take care of her, including her son, John.
On her 109th birthday, Skinner looked back on the moments of her life spent in San Diego, from being born at a downtown hotel to her graduation from San Diego High School and the birth of her two children.
She even recalled celebrating the end of World War I in what is now the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.
"We got in our Model T and drove down to 5th and Broadway to see the decorations for the exercises out in the street there... and that was when World War I ended," Skinner said. "I couldn’t tell you when it was, it was a long time ago," she said jokingly.
The city has changed in her more than century-long life, Skinner said. She fondly remembered walking with friends through San Diego to the dime store, a staple far removed from the 21st century.
Skinner still takes a walk almost every day. And while she has fallen several times and may now need assistance from a walker to get around, she hasn't slowed down.
The 109-year-old was surrounded by love on her birthday. Flowers were sent from family in Spokane, Washington to mark the occasion while friends and family joined her for a birthday dinner at the assisted living facility.
Those special touches allowed Skinner to do what she says she loves most on her birthday: to "Live each day."