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She may be 105 but there's still a lot of spunk left in Mamie Sanders Carpenter.

Mamie celebrated her birthday on Friday with a special party attended by family members at Hale Aloha Convalescent Hospital in Ceres. She actually turns 105 today, making her one of the oldest persons in the state of California.

"I don't feel that old," protested Mrs. Carpenter. "Really I don't."

When nurse Vickie Baker asked if she felt like a spring chicken, Mrs. Carpenter grinned and said, "Almost."

"See, my hair isn't even gray. When you get old your hair turns gray."

On the table was a framed letter from President Bush, signed on White House stationery, congratulating her on achieving the milestone of 105.

Then the question of longevity was put to her. When asked how she lived to be 105, she ruminated a bit and said with another smile, "Being nice. And buttermilk."

She drinks at least two glasses of buttermilk each day, noted hospital staff.

Even though she enjoys Hale Aloha and calls it home, Mrs. Carpenter enjoys getting out and going on drives into the country. She especially likes to drive out to Laird Park where she once lived with her late husband, Clint.

"She was the greatest mother anyone could want," said Ruby Ingram of Oakdale. "She's worked hard in life. She's always done heavy manual labor."

Mamie was born on Nov. 21, 1902 in Hamburg, Ark. When she was just nine, her family moved her to Oklahoma by covered wagon. She grew up there and later met and married Clint Carpenter. They moved to a farm in central Oklahoma where they raised five children.

In 1944 Mamie and Clint came to California, traveling in a 1936 Chevy. They found work in fields and canneries until they were offered a job to be caretaker of the county animal shelter at Laird Park. Mamie kept the books while Clint cared for the dogs and cats.

They purchased a home on Glenn Avenue in South Modesto. After his death in 1974, she continued to live on her own into her 90s. She raised tomatoes in her garden and made chocolate cakes from scratch. Then she fell and broke her hip and could not live on her own.

Mrs. Carpenter wanted to come to Hale Aloha back in June 2000. She has not regretted her decision.

"She chose to be here," said granddaughter Janet Watson of Ceres. "She didn't want to be imposing."

Mamie has been a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses for over 60 years.

She has 14 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

The oldest person living today has been identified as Edna Parker, 114, of Shelbyville, Ind.