Every Sunday afternoon for almost two decades, Greta Van Susteren, the television anchor and author, has gone to the Washington, D.C. home of her best friend Roberta McCain, the 107-year-old mother of the late Sen. John McCain, for long talks over coffee with cream and sugar, served on formal silver.
“We just yak,” says Van Susteren, 64, whom Roberta has regaled with stories of adventurous world travel and rubbing shoulders with fascinating people — including famed aviator Amelia Earhart. “She’s got a wickedly smart, inquiring mind.”
This Sunday was a gathering of a different sort: Some 50 family members and friends took Roberta out to celebrate her turning 107 on Feb. 7.
“I love you Nana Roberta — I am so happy to celebrate with you today at your 107th birthday party, you are truly incredible and we are so grateful for you,” granddaughter and The View co-host Meghan McCain, 34, wrote on Twitter.
RELATED: Meghan McCain’s Grandma Turns 107, Months After Burying Son John McCain: ‘The Epitome of Strength’
I love you Nana Roberta – I am so happy to celebrate with you today at your 107th birthday party, you are truly inc… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) February 10, 2019
Roberta’s adventures in later life oftentimes included identical twin sister Rowena, who died at 100. Van Susteren on Sunday tweeted a photo of the pair, writing: “Mrs McCain and her identical twin 100 years ago?”
Mrs McCain and her identical twin 100 years ago? https://t.co/l17nIsQImr—
Greta Van Susteren (@greta) February 10, 2019
The sisters determined that age would not be a barrier to their travels.
“When they were about 96 or 97 they traveled all over the world together,” says Van Susteren. “Both widows at that time. They went to Paris, they got off the plane, and they went to the counter to rent a car, and the French wouldn’t rent them a car because they were too old.”
“So they went over to a BMW dealership, and they bought a little red BMW, which they drove around Europe in, and she had it shipped home,” Van Susteren says. “It’s still sitting in her driveway.”
As John McCain wrote in his memoir Faith Of My Fathers, “My mother grew to be an extroverted and irrepressible woman.”
Van Susteren believes Roberta’s zest for adventure and the closeness of family are some of Roberta’s keys to living to 107.
Roberta lives with the youngest of her three children, 76-year-old Joe McCain, who leads his mother in daily, hour-long leg and arm exercises. “She’s a good sport and Joe’s amazing,” Van Susteren says. “He has kept that woman in great health.”
She’s also very close to John’s widow, Cindy McCain, 64. “She loves Cindy,” says Van Susteren. “When I ask her about Cindy she says, ‘Cindy’s perfect, Cindy has raised those kids so well.’”
On Roberta’s insatiable curiosity about the world, “I’ll say, ‘Mrs. McCain, I’m going to Lahore, Pakistan.’ She says to me, ‘Oh, the Shalimar Gardens there are beautiful.’ Then I say, ‘Mrs. McCain, …read more