“It never done me no harm”, says the 117 year old great-great-great grandmother.
Born Maude Ellen Latrobe July 11, 1895, Ms Keeshan – she likes to be called Miz Maude – remembers hearing William Jennings Bryan speak at a Chatauqua Tent meeting.
“Can’t recollect if it was 1906 or 1907,” she said. “But I’m sure it wasn’t a Presidential election year, cause I remember thinking, ‘What’s he doing here?” And if it’d been one of them, I’d of figured he was running.”
Bryan had come to Latrobe on the Chautauqua Circuit to deliver his famous “Cross Of Gold” speech. “He was a great windbag,” said Miz Maude. “Kind of like a prototype Rush Limbaugh. Except he made sense.”
Listening to Bryan stoned was “almost a religious experience,” said Mis Maude.
“You could understand everything he stood for, and what it menat for each of us personally. You could see: the Gold Standard meant that those who held the gold, had all the money. Us regular folk didn’t have nothing. Bryan made it pretty plain to us common folk that our holdings had to be commoner stuff, backed by our hard work. And believe you me, I coiuldn’t have made head or tail of it if I’d been straight all the time.”
Miz Maude has been actively interested in politics as long as she can remember, which is a very long time. “Keep in mind,” she said. “A hundred years ago, I was already married with a baby on the way.”
Still completely ‘with it’, Miz Maude lives a vigorous life. Every action she takes has some purpose. “I don’t have any time to waste. Know what I mean?”
She has great respect for the cultural diversity of her country. “Jews aren’t all good. Nobody is. But you gotta thank them every day for pastrami,” she says.