Jeanne Calment. Regarded as the oldest living person in recorded history. Over a period of 122 years, she saw a lot. But this is perhaps my favorite story of hers.
In 1965 André-François Raffray, an attorney, agreed to pay Calment 2,500 francs per month until Calment’s death in exchange for ownership of her apartment after she passed. Calment was 90 at the time while Raffray was a spry and young 47. Seems like a great deal, right?
Whoa now, not so fast! A funny thing happened. Raffray, at the age of 77 (yep, he’d been paying for 30 YEARS!) died.
Okay, so not only had Raffray ended up paying 30 years for something he probably expected to only pay on for a few years — if not a few months — but he died before Calment! Raffray’s wife took on the payments after his death for another two years until Calment died in 1997, the oldest living person in recorded history.
Astonishingly, she smoked for most of her life, finally giving it up at the age of 119; not because she was worried about her health, but because she was losing her sight and couldn’t see well enough to light up.
So, the moral of the story? Don’t make an agreement like Raffray did with any of Calment’s relatives. Her father lived into his 90′s, her brother nearly hit 100. You just might get the one that lives forever!