Invisible Selves

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The hands of Alice Mendes,105, and her great-grandniece, Sophie Friend,12, lie intertwined on Alice's lap. The two have always had a powerful connection and have been pen pals for the past few years. Alice, who despite her age, remains the adored family matriarch, immigrated to the United States as an infant from Cape Verde in 1910. “Things were really different back then. No gas stoves, no street lights or traffic lights. I remember my mother getting up early in the morning to start the coal stove so that the house would be warm when we woke up,” she explains. Alice spent much of her life working as a nanny and housekeeper and married the love of her life, Jimmy Mendes, a professional boxer and fisherman who ended up dying at sea in a storm.