It's hard to believe that the year 2022 is already here. It seems like only yesterday I was ordering CDs through the mail, checking the payphones at the mall for arcade quarters, and cruising around town all week on $10 worth of gas. Things sure have changed in the last 25 years, but to some people, 25 years isn't all that much. Just ask Marie.
Marie has just celebrated her 100th New Year...
Meet Marie Pemberton
Born December 9,1921 Marie has just celebrated her 100th New Year, and has seen 100 years worth of change. Living through several of the greatest leaps in the progress of modern American society and seeing the ongoing evolution firsthand, Marie has been a witness to, and even a part of, some pretty amazing moments in history.
from records & radio...to streaming online
Marie was witness to the birth of indoor plumbing, electricity in the home, television, the microwave and the internet. She lived through WWII, the cold war, the atomic bomb, and women’s suffrage. She read about Hitler’s Germany, Moussilini, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Mahatma Gandhi in her morning newspapers. She saw the growth of home entertainment from records & radio to cassettes & video tapes to Blu-ray DVDs & streaming online. Shopping evolved from spending a day traveling into town during market to ordering anything you can think of simply by saying it aloud to Alexa. Cars went from looking like something the Munsters drive and having a hand crank start to looking like spaceships and driving themselves!
It's fun to think about all of the changes possible with the passing of time. The contrast in realities of two different times spread apart is so vast, and something we rarely appreciate, or even realize because we live it moment by moment. We watch each step, and every small new footprint in the development of technology, society and the world as it comes in small increments and we adapt to change so quickly, we hardly notice. Looking back, it’s amazing how much has happened in the last 100 years.
from housewife to sharecropper to land and business owner.
Marie was here when man first landed on the moon and when Donald Johanson discovered Lucy. And Marie herself experienced her own evolution from housewife to sharecropper to land and business owner.
I live over in Farmington in an apartment. I live by myself. I like living by myself, I do.
My full name is Della Marie Imogene. My mother wanted to name me, my dad wanted to name me, and my grandmother wanted to name me. Now my grandmother lived to be 100. She was born on Groundhog’s Day, and she lived until the August after her 100th birthday. And she would more than likely have lived longer than that, but back then they didn’t have nursing homes like they have today.
I was born in Biggers, Arkansas. We lived in Arkansas until after our first two children were born. Now, This is kind of comical, my husband couldn't read or write. And all of our children have at least some college education. Well all except the boy. He went into the service when he was 18. Phyllis was the only one that graduated, but the other girls have some college. When she was in school she only missed one half-day the whole time. She then taught school, Home Economics & Science in the Jr. and Senior High School, until she retired.
1942, the first year we sharecropped.
We moved from Arkansas to Missouri just before our oldest daughter was two. That was in 1942, the first year we sharecropped. We farmed. You know, when people come from Arkansas, you don't have anything. It was funny, we just needed a little time.
We bought a new car. It wasn't brand new, but we bought a car. We bought a cow, and just, some things we'd never had before. We thought we were really up in the world!
We grew cotton, corn and wheat.
But then, the man we worked for, well we didn't have a big enough family. So they wanted a big family to work so they could till the land. It was on a road called Indian Mound Rd. It was north of Charleston. We were 15 miles east of Sikeston and 14 to 15 miles west of Cairo, Illinois.
It was Riley Brown's farm, and with sharecropping you get an amount of money when it was harvest time. Back then cotton was a big, big thing. We grew cotton, corn and wheat. There were no machines to pick the cotton. Everything was done by hand. And cotton, it...well have you ever seen cotton bolls? They just absolutely tear your hands all to pieces.
I liked working with flowers a lot better. I owned a flower shop for a little bit. It was called God’s Creation, it was in Charleston, Missouri.
We moved here in 2002. I moved here, I mean. My husband passed away in 1997. He had Alzheimer's. So then, I sold the house and moved here. I have five children. We lost a daughter to cancer seven years ago. My son lives in Augusta, Georgia. He was in the service for 23 years. The oldest girl is in Sikeston now. She did live in Texas close to Corpus Christy.
Now, I may slur my words some. I fell, two years ago in March, and hit my head against a concrete wall. I had 18 stitches. They had to go into my skull and drain the blood off. The Lord spared me. I'm a very devout Christian. I have been a Christian 62 years. And now I go to Abundant Life Church. A WONDERFUL, wonderful church! Best minister I ever heard in my life. He's like, old-time Pentecostal.
I don't really do too much any more. I don't really cook too much. Well, I did make some cornbread the other day! I don’t drive anymore. When I fell, somebody took my car. Can you believe that?
Marie began to laugh and Phyllis explained, “She sold her car because her doctor suggested she not drive, but she likes to tell everybody that we took it away.”
Everyone laughed with Marie.
Well, I had told her that whenever I turned 98 I was gonna quit driving. Your reflexes are slowed & everything is, you know, just not good.
Marie has 13 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and 20 great-great grandchildren.
I called one of my grandsons Monday and I said “How many grandchildren do you have?” He has two boys. And he says, “Well, each one of the boys has got two each, and they both say, ‘no more, no more!’ So that’s the end of that for now.”
573: So can you remember when America landed on the moon?
I can remember it, but I can’t get all the details straight. They told me when I fell, that my memory would come back, see, but it hasn't, not all of it any way. So, a lot of things, I can remember parts of it, but not all.
573: What’s your happiest memory?
I don’t really know! I guess it was when our son was born. That was in 1937 and it was a little boy, and I thought, ‘Oh Boy! A little boy!’ Ha-ha! So, he’s 83 years old now. Then my next daughter is 81. There's a five year difference between Phyllis and my daughter in Sikeston. And then there’s seven years between the other two.
...we’re gonna have a party.
573: So do you have a lot of friends?
So many I can’t count them all. We don’t get together very much. I’m hopin that for my birthday, that they’ll all be here. Everybody says we’re gonna have a party. At church one of the men put his arm around me, and he said, “well, we’re gonna have a party.” And I said, “Oh really?” He says, “In December.”
In the past month, Marie has celebrated her 100th birthday, 100th Christmas, and 100th New Year, surrounded by friends and family. Despite her age and lack of license, she's still on the go and sharp as a tack!! Bright, witty, and 100 years wise, Marie is a shining example of aging gracefully, and inspires hope for staying active and living life to its fullest well into your golden years.
...our own legacies...
With everything that Marie was witness to through the passage of time, the memories she kept and shared were of her family, her friends, and her own life experiences, struggles, and triumphs. It makes you wonder. What will we see, and be and keep in our lifetimes? It’s amazing to think about how far we’ve come already. What do you think the next 100 years has in store for us? Will we achieve world peace? Discover new life? Finally get that flying car we’ve been waiting so long for? Or maybe start small, by just building our own legacies to last in the hearts and minds of our communities and let the next few generations watch them grow.
Whatever time has planned up ahead, be sure to be a part of it! Living day by day, moment to moment the best you can! Get up, get out there, and contribute a small piece of yourself to history, while saving the rest for what’s most important to you. Leave your mark on this next century, be it in the pages of history, or the stories your children pass on to their children, but do it now. Start today.
Until next time 573, be happy, be healthy, be well!