It was a day one hundred years in the making.Relaxing in her balloon-filled living room with birthday cards lining the walls and doorways, Southampton Village resident and newly minted centenarian Celia Knight sat with her two sons, Stanley and Peter, and her granddaughter, Celia Czelatka, as they talked about 100 years of memories.
An avid dancer, cook and farmer, Mrs. Knight has lived quite a life in Southampton, and her family said they were happy to celebrate the milestone with the strong matriarch of the Knight clan.
“She did everything for this family,” Ms. Czelatka said on Monday. “She took care of his house and all of us. My grandparents hosted every holiday, and we were here every Sunday. She took care of us all.”
Mrs. Knight was born on October 28, 1913, in Cutchogue, New York, to parents Jozef and Michalina Zuchowski. The eighth of 10 children born to Polish immigrant farmers, she was raised on a tradition of hard work and living off the land.
After her first husband died, Mrs. Knight traveled to Southampton with her young daughter, Celia, to visit one of her sisters. There, she met her second husband, Stanley Knight, and in 1939 the pair married. Together, they had two sons, Stanley and Peter, and were married for 68 years until Mr. Knight died in 2006 at age 92.
In total, Mrs. Knight has three children, seven grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
The couple owned Knight’s Farm and sold their produce at a farm stand outside the house where Mrs. Knight still lives today.
“Her entire life is full of memories,” her son Peter Knight said.
To celebrate the milestone, the family hosted two parties. First, there was a small luncheon at Claudio’s in Greenport with 12 of Mrs. Knight’s closest family. After, there was a larger party, with 24 people, at the Elks Lodge in Southampton.
On Monday, family members laughed with Mrs. Knight, remembering her love of dancing. A fan of both the polka and the waltz, Mrs. Knight attended all the dances at the local Polish Hall. “I never missed a dance with your daddy,” she told her sons on Monday.
Mrs. Knight was also an experienced cook. Stanley Knight reminisced that she could make anything out of nothing, adding that even if someone came over as a surprise, she could disappear into the pantry and come back a short time later with a full meal, including dessert, ready to go. “It was always delicious,” he said.
On Monday, Mrs. Knight said she had a fun time celebrating her birthday over the weekend. When asked what else she loved to do while growing up, she had only one answer, which she gave with a smile:
“I liked to work. Work was always my favorite thing.”