Hello again friends, I hope you are staying warm and dry during this winter of storms. I am enjoying high school and although I’d love to tell you of some crazy new invention the Christ the King robotics club is working on, I wanted to write about Carl Berner. You may remember him from a Juniper Park Civic Association meeting, or maybe you saw him walking down Caldwell Avenue, or you may remember my earlier article of my interview with him to celebrate his 108th birthday. No matter how you remember him, no doubt we all knew him as the “Legendary Carl Berner.”
On January 27, 1902 Carl was born, and he died just 20 days shy of his 111th birthday. He made history being the second oldest living man in the United States. Since I met this man, he left me almost star-struck. When I heard him speak about his family and his life, he left an impression on me because he remembered such details and his smile was so genuine. It truly is difficult to find such a man of his high stature. The story of his life is so interesting, and as he told me stories, his face lit up when he talked about working in the famous Chrysler Building. He even has a very historic photo sitting on the gargoyle of the building. He spoke about hard times and how his family got through them. He has been a large part of our community and the heart of the Juniper Park Civic Association. He left an impression on everyone who knew him. Most people drive to the church for the Juniper Civic meetings, but Carl used to walk from his home. He loved walking. He used to walk along Caldwell and clean the weeds, bagging them and never asking anyone for help. He even carried the bags back to his house for the garbage. Even when he needed to use a walker, I would see him walk past my house with it, but he had taken off two of the feet and he would even lift the walker instead of leaning on it. And always there was a smile as he waved.
One of the things I greatly respected about him was his sheer simplicity. He was quoted as saying, “I have no secret, I live a normal life,” and “Even though life is disgusting sometimes… I’ll get up again.” He also loved his oatmeal. Carl had a certain way about himself that is just welcoming to anybody. We should all remember him for the kind gentleman he was. The world needs more Carl Berners.