Meet Maria: Tripping Host, San Francisco Native & the World’s Oldest Social Networker

One of our favorite Tripping Hosts is Maria, a spry San Franciscan who – at 103 years old – might just be the world’s oldest social networker.

When Maria was born, San Francisco was still recovering from the 1906 Earthquake. Few families had telephones, the first radio broadcast had just happened and tv wouldn’t be invented for another 20 years. Cars were new too – the streets were still filled with horse-drawn carriages – and there were no planes in the sky. It was a totally different world.

“People didn’t travel much back then,” Maria told us. “My family would spend time at a summer resort, but we never even considered traipsing through Europe like backpackers do today. When we traveled to Italy, we took a steamship there and got around in a Fiat… and we even had to pay one of our Italian cousins to drive, since none of us knew how!”pagebreak

Tripping with Maria
Two Trippers, Apo from Switzerland and Jose from Mexico, recently visited Maria in the hopes of learning what San Francisco was like 100 years ago. They spent the afternoon together, talking and sharing stories. Luckily for us, a camera was rolling and Jose just created this great video:

Tripping with Maria produced by Jose

È un Piccolo Mondo / It’s a Small World
It turned out that Apo and Maria’s family were from the same part of Switzerland! They chatted in Italian and Maria told them about the adventures she had while traveling across Italy in the 30s. Apo later told us that Maria speaks an old dialect that hasn’t been heard in Lugano for generations.

A Friend to Everyone

This is our favorite part of the video:

When Maria was 7 years old, her father explained that her school would soon be filled with children of different races and cultural backgrounds. Like most schools at the time, her school had only white children and so Maria didn’t believe him. But her father could see where society was heading and insisted:

“You go to school now and all the children look like you. But someday – maybe tomorrow maybe in 10 years – you will see a black child come to your school. And when those children come…I want you to be a friend to everyone.”

It was a lesson that has stayed with Maria throughout her life. “We may come from different cultures and countries,” she told us, “but deep down we’re all the same.”

We couldn’t agree more. And if you’re headed to San Francisco, stop by and visit Maria. You’ll have a memorable visit and we’re sure she’d love to meet you too.

-Grahame

  • sandanona5122

    103 years old and going strong … BRAVA to the world’s oldest social networker! If everyone had Maria’s joie de vivre and wonderful good humor what a world we would be.

  • Tina Cheung

    This is such a wonderful story. We can learn so much from the elderly. In fact, one of my favorite things everyday is hearing from my elderly clients – many whom speak Chinese dialects that are uncommon and absent among the younger generation. Fortunately, I spoke it with my grandma and great grandmother as a child and can still speak it. I feel inspired to share some of my own.

  • Diane Marotta

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Maria, on a few occassions, as my neighbor is her daughter. What an amazing, inspiring, lovely woman. We could all learn a thing or two from her. She is a good soul, has a positive attitude and great outlook on life. Maria’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren must be so very proud and extremely lucky to have her in their lives.

  • Anis Velasco-Salvesen

    Maria should run for public office. She’d have my vote! I feel like the U.S. has such a youth-centric culture that we tend to forget – or at least I tend to forget – how cool older people are and how much insight they have to offer. This blog post was a good reminder. And I love the photos and video!