Growing up between two World Wars and living past 99

60 Minutes first met Sid Shero, 99, Lou Tirado, 100, and Helen Weil, 99, six years ago as they were participating in a landmark study of men and women over the age of 90. This past Sunday, Lesley Stahl checked back in on the study’s participants and in this digital extra, talks to the three about life growing up between two World Wars and during the Great Depression. 

Lou Tirado, who turned 100 this summer, was a World War II B-17 gunner who spent eight months in a German POW camp after his plane was shot down. Today, he has an iPhone, a Facebook account, and uses Zoom to communicate. He tells Lesley Stahl that during the Depression after World War I, “Everybody was poor in those days… veterans [were] on the corner selling apples.”

He remembers buying newspapers and selling them at a markup: “You buy them at two cents. And sell them for three cents.”

Sid Shero’s memory appears to be as sharp as ever, despite a PET scan six years ago that revealed pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease in his brain. He told Lesley Stahl about buying his first car 80 years ago, for $18 in a pool hall. 

“And I didn’t know how to drive,” says Shero. As for the person who sold a car for $18? “He needed the money to shoot pool. That’s Brooklyn kids.” 

99-year-old on the power of optimism


Helen Weil, a Holocaust survivor originally born in Germany, told Lesley Stahl how she maintains a positive outlook.

“I’m full of pep when I wake up. And since I’m a very optimistic person, I know it’s going to be a really good day.” 

Weil also said she wakes up every morning with the help of Apple’s virtual assistant Siri, who she asks each night to set an alarm for her at 6:30 a.m.

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