At Age 100, Dr. Frances Seidman still Displays a positive view on Life
by David Block
When Dr. Frances Seidman of Philadelphia turned 100 this past March 25, she suddenly felt old.
“I didn’t count the years,” said Dr. Seidman. “I didn’t realize that I was getting old. I acted as though it wasn’t happening. Then suddenly, I was 100. It was like, ‘oh my God, where did that come from?’”
She reached that milestone, even though she barely exercises and was never the healthiest eater. She attributed it to genetics; both of her parents died in their late 90s.
Asked how it feels to be a centenarian, Dr. Seidman answered: “I’m not sure how I feel. I don’t tie my feelings into being 100. I just think of myself now as older. And knowing that [life] isn’t going to last forever is bad because I love life.”
The Pew Research Center put out a study, which stated that the world was home to nearly
half a million centenarians in 2015, which is nearly four times as many as there were in 1990. (For more information consult:
Dr. Seidman has many life memories, and some date back to childhood. She was born March 25, 1917 in New York. Her birth was nearly two
weeks before the U.S. entered the First World War (April 6, 1917). Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States; gas cost four cents a gallon, according
to information gathered from Answers.com
She grew up on a farm in Carmel, N.J.
“I just remember living on the farm and being there,” said Dr. Seidman, “and that we didn’t have indoor plumbing. We used an outhouse.”
Dr. Seidman, who is Jewish, remembered that while growing up that Anti-Semitism was
sometimes rampant. “I was always in the situation where I was protected by my Gentile friends as well as by my Jewish ones,” Dr. Seidman said. “They protected me by being with me a lot. It was just their presence. When an Anti-Semite was there, they (her friends) talked for me.”
Seidman earned her EdD (Doctorate of Education), yet worked as a practicing psychologist. According to her chosen daughter Susana Mayer, PhD, 68, Dr. Seidman was head of a family therapy clinic in Trenton, N.J. for 30 years. Her proudest accomplishment was getting special needs children to talk for the first time. (Susana Mayer is a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Sexuality.) Dr. Seidman attributes her success to talking with the children, to being there for them, and by hugging them. She did not ask anything of the children or expect anything of them. “They (the children) gave freely based on what I was giving them and that was love,” said
Some people still visit Dr. Seidman today for counseling.
According to Dr. Mayer, Dr. Seidman is currently counseling a Chinese woman who barely speaks English. She added that Dr. Seidman also provides counseling
for the aides who come to help her.
“She has a gift,” said Dr. Mayer. “When she does her therapy, she can always find something wonderful about everyone she works with.” Dr. Seidman remained active in her 90s, where she took on new projects. For example, At age 91, she began writing erotica/sex memoirs. She read her work monthly at the Erotic Literary Salon and contributed during the Adult Sex-Ed sessions. (The Erotic Literary Salon meets the third Tuesday of every month at 1315 Sansom St.) the e-book, Sensexual:A Unique Anthology contains some of her writings. To access them, log onto ttps://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=searchalias%
Besides having a mother/daughter relationship, Dr. Mayer and Dr. Seidman are also roommates and best friends. When Dr. Seidman is not providing therapy, she watches TV and talks on the phone to friends. “At her one-hundredth birthday party, 75 people were there and just a small handful were relatives,” said Dr. Mayer. “The rest were friends of all ages.”