By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter
Dec. 20, 2017: Bronxville has a new centenarian as of December 15. That’s when village resident Janet Johnson celebrated her one-hundredth birthday.
Practically a Bronxville native, Janet moved with her parents to the village from Brooklyn, where she was born in 1917. “My family lived in a big house up on Elm Rock Road,” she remembered. The best part of growing up here, Janet said, was being part of a small village and knowing almost everyone. “I don’t think Bronxville has changed much over the years,” she added. “I love Bronxville.”
Janet went to school at the private Brantwood Hall School for Girls, which was on Woodland Avenue. “I didn’t get to go away to college,” she said. “It was the Depression, so I learned shorthand and typing and got a job at a real estate firm in the city.” She had to get a job, she remembered, because her father lost his and the family had to move to a smaller house across the village. “We sort of traded houses with someone,” she recalled.
Janet met and married her husband in Bronxville. “He was one of five bachelors who all moved out to the village. I don’t think in this day and age that five bachelors would move here.” She and her husband married in 1940 at Christ Church in the village. The first of their four children--two sons and two daughters--was born in 1942. Today she has seven grandchildren.
“I was an only child and I hated it,” Janet shared. “I had said I wanted six children but after four, I decided that was enough to take care of.”
Janet and her family hosted a foreign exchange student from Germany for a year. “He was like my fifth child,” she said, and added that she made sure to keep in touch with him when he returned home.
Janet also enjoyed traveling with her husband, a tax attorney, when he spoke at meetings and conferences. She named Germany as the country she felt the most affection for. “We had the connection,” she related.
Through the years, Janet was active in the Junior League and at The Reformed Church. “I grew up in Christ Church,” she said, “but my husband was a member of The Reformed Church. After about a year, I joined the church with him and I’m still a member.”
What is Janet Johnson’s secret to a long life? She laughed and said, “I don’t know. Just lucky, I guess!”
Pictured here (from top down): Janet Johnson (photo by J. Murrer); Janet Johnson (R) with Joyce Balint (photo by A. Warner).