By Jen Bakken
In Waverly April 16, 1903, a daughter is welcomed into the world by Joe and Francis Ramola.
The family then moved to Delano when Monica was a young girl, where she attended classes in a small country schoolhouse.
She dreamt of becoming a teacher at a time when not many attended college or even high school.
Though she never realized this dream, she did finish eighth grade, received a high school equivalency diploma and attended night classes.
Eventually, she moved to Minneapolis where she worked for a clothing factory doing piecework.
A young man named Constantine Kittock, or CM as he went by, began courting her. He was the son of Frank and Francis Kittock and had attended classes at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Delano with Monica.
CM would drive his old model T on the long gravel road, now known as US Highway 12, to visit her in Minneapolis.
After many dances and picnics throughout their courtship, the couple married Sept. 26, 1928.
Making the Kittock family farm home, they raised four children, Father Francis Frank, Irene Monica, Al, and Rick.
During the Depression, she was the family bookkeeper, who also happened to have beautiful handwriting. Though times were difficult, Monica made sure all their children attended parochial school and piano lessons.
“She was a Polish Mama,” said Father Francis Frank Kittock. “She was very dedicated to family.”
Around the time her husband passed away in 1967, Monica began performing housecleaning duties for other families. She was particularly fond of one family from Wayzata and their children.
She loved children, to spend time gardening, and enjoyed playing cards.
“She has played a lot of cards,” laughed Father Kittock. “I used to go with her, and could play 500 by the age of seven. She played a lot of euchre, too, and she hated to lose.”
Monica drove her car until she was in her early 90s, and always said she would give her vehicle to her youngest son when she was ready.
One day, she mysteriously called him and said he could come pick up the car. She never quite told the family what caused her to make this quick decision.
The family speculates that she was trying to make a turn near US Highway 12 and Bridge Avenue when a semi truck blew its loud horn and it scared her enough to finally give up driving.
“She wasn’t about to tell anybody,” remembered Father Kittock. “And, if she wasn’t telling, then we weren’t asking.”
Monica remained on the family farm for many years until 2002 when she moved in with Marlene Little.
Little is a licensed care provider for the elderly. At 70 years old herself, Little has been providing this service for nearly 50 years.
Though Monica does require complete care, she rarely needs to visit the doctor, and doesn’t take any medications.
“She is so healthy,” said Irene Monica Kittock. “It’s amazing. She is very blessed. Her eyes are so clear, and there is a lot of brightness there.”
Monica says her favorite color is green, depending on the shade, and said black is her favorite for shoes and purple is her least favorite color.
When she was asked what she did during her days as a young girl, she quickly responded, “Well, I did what every other little girl did, I suppose.”
She receives many visits and phone calls from family members, although isn’t too interested in long conversations and most calls end quickly.
Once the person on the other end has had a chance to say a sentence or two, she will say, “I’m doing good. Thank you for calling, good-bye.”
In Little’s home, Monica enjoys saying the Rosary, and is very religious. She will not look at the TV much, and can have a bit of a stubborn streak.
“She sure has a lot of spunk still,” Little said. “I guess that could be a part of how she’s stayed healthy all these years.”
Surprisingly, in her 105 years of life, she has only been in the hospital four times, and three of those were for the deliveries of her children.
For the past few months, a walker has helped Monica get around, but before that only a cane was necessary.
Her memory may not be what it used to be, but Monica does well for a lady with 105 years behind her.
Her spunk was evident when she was asked to talk to the newspaper reporter about her life. She thought for a minute and said, “Well, I don’t think I should. If you don’t say anything, you can’t get in trouble for it later.”