BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Hazel Nilson is the Chicago Cubs' oldest fan.
“Suddenly, they had the hit that scored the run! Ah, we all yelled,” Nilson told a reporter, recounting the watch party she attended Wednesday night.
Nilson, who grew up in Chicago, is 108 years old. She's now living near her son in New Hampshire, but for a long time, she lived in Buffalo.
From 1929 to 1962, Nilson worked in the Buffalo Public Schools system. She was a Phys Ed teacher at Kensington High School (now the Olmsted School at Kensington) from 1952-1962, according to the Kensington High School Alumni Association.
Cece Black, who lives in Orchard Park, had Nilson as a teacher when she was a student and then became a Phys Ed teacher herself. She replaced Nilson when Nilson left Buffalo.
"She was an outstanding teacher, she really was. And many of us became Phys Ed teachers because of her,” Black said.
Nilson moved away, but the two, who had become very close friends, always kept in touch.
"We send birthday cards and Christmas cards, always,” Black said.
Black got letters in mail, and as Nilson neared a 100, Black started receiving newspaper clippings, too, as local communities did features on this vibrant century old woman.
One clipping feature Nilson, then 95, in a life jacket getting into a raft. One of her bucket list items was to go white water rafting, and after that, her town named her “Hurricane Hazel.”
“She had such energy,” remembered Black. “But graceful.”
The most recent picture Black had seen of her now 108-year-old friend was from last Christmas until, that is, the Cubs won the world series.
"When I saw the little blip on television, I said oh my God that's Mrs. Nilson!" Black said. “I watched her clap and cheer, and I thought, my God, the changes she’s seen in 108 years.”
Nilson had grown up in Chicago. Despite moves to Buffalo, Florida, and now New Hampshire, she has always been a Cubs fan.
"I always hoped and hopes…that someday they'd win, and by golly they did" Nilson said in a recent interview. "I've been lucky.”
Born in August, Hazel Nilson would have been two months old the last time the Cubs won the series in 1908. It is entirely possible she's the only person --and if not, certainly one among an elite few-- of Cubs fans who have lived to see two World Series titles.