Click the second dot below to see this week's Around the County guest!
Click the second dot below to see this week's Around the County guest!
Jory’s papaw took me to meet this great lady who will soon hit 10 x 10 and is as spry as I am at 10 x 3 off of that age! Of course, a party is being planned. I voted that was excitement ‘nuf but they always instigate something unique that she’s not done before. For her 96th birthday, she took a ride on a Gold Wing motorcycle, hopped right on and had a blast! Someone mentioned perhaps bailing out of an airplane? She turned-up her nose but when I suggested zip-lining, her eyes lit-up! So, who knows but she’s the kind of gal who will be thrilled with anything.
When I queried her a couple of times about what invention she’s lived through that was the best, she said she’d have to pick water in the house because she isn’t afraid of work for sure but carrying gallons and gallons of water got really old! She loves the telephone, too, but noted that she could do without the television, rarely watching it and when she does, it’s shows like Wheel of Fortune that keeps her mind working. Loves doing Word Searches for the same reason!
Very sharp, she told us she went to several Putnam County schools, but finished at Breaks, then “quitiated” after 8th grade. Most of the ones she attended had been two-room schools, so she thought the four-room Breaks was quite a step-up. 8th grade or not, she’s a smart one, and has read the Bible through multiple times, even keeping a tally of her perusals. Having had an exceptional life, she said it started with the best mom and dad ever who raised ten great kids with only one a bit wayward and, “He wasn’t too bad!” There were good but reasonable guidelines, including the number one rule, “Eat what’s sat in front of you!” Her own advice to the world is to, “Get right with the Lord, it’ll fix so many problems!” She loves life but had to admit she is afraid for the world because there is so much more meanness now than ever before!
Longevity runs in this gal’s family: her father was 86, mother 95 and one direct ancestor 104. Most of her brothers and sisters lived to be quite old, as well. Longevity in marriage, too, as she and her husband, Ray were together for 64 years before he passed away in 2002. Ray was only two and a half pounds at birth but grew to be a 6’4” man with a heart to match his big body. Their wedding was on October 17th, 1937 at her husband’s aunt’s house out in the country in Waynetown. She had been to church, then served as a flower girl (carrier) at the funeral of a fellow who had been killed by a train and then the guy who was taking her to the wedding pretended to be lost and they were later yet. Still remembers the beautiful royal blue dress she wore, but there were no flowers since it was on a Sunday. Then, Rev. Barton had to do a hurried job as he had to get back to do evening service, but obviously it worked well. She said Ray was a very pleasant and kind partner 99% of the time. She reflected that a couple of weeks before he passed that he pulled her down into his lap and told her things he wanted her to do and things not to do. A premonition for sure!
More longevity related to her home. She has lived there since it was built in 1952, her nephew and Ray’s brother having built it and it was the first home she ever lived in with indoor plumbing. Ray worked for Krogers for a long time and later Sommer Metalcraft. She worked at Woolworth as well as Sommer, but said she really just liked staying home cooking, cleaning and caring for the family. They canned almost everything, Ray helping with beans, apples, tomatoes and more. From what I hear she still makes an amazing meal, her specialty being pot roast, a recipe carried on from when her mother fixed it for the 13 men who would come to do the threshing. Pineapple pie would be the next one and I think she needs to give me that recipe!!
Some of you may know this awesome lady, Bertha Roberts who raised two children, Connie (named after a singer who came to her church) and Dallas, plus more family members with seven grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 7 great great grandkids. She pointed out many photos and told me about them, and I got to meet Beckie, her oldest grand who absolutely adores Bertha.
This lady has traveled all over the US and as Beckie says, “She’s ready to go anytime, anywhere!” She just recently quit driving but Beckie and her husband, John (Papaw) Stephenson help take her lots of places. Beckie’s brother mows her yard, and they all take good care of her! She does reprimand them if they say a bad word, Beckie telling me she had just gotten talked to the morning of the interview for saying “darn!”
As per her upcoming birthday, she says she’s a Mayflower but, “Who knows, I might be a dandelion!” Personally, I would choose for Bertha, the flower Chrysanthemum as it has multi-meanings, all applying to this lovely lady – optimism, joy, fidelity and long-life. She’s got ‘em all covered! Born at 7 in the morning, her dad rode a horse to get the doctor, but both men missed the whole affair.
Her nephews in Florida and Colorado are planning on making the trip for her party and so I’d like to say an early Happy Birthday to this sweetie. Although the interview was a complete surprise, she just hopped right in, welcomed me. It was special to me and hopefully, Bertha got a kick out of it, too, and thanks to Beckie and John for introducing us!
Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.