My Aunt Roxie, just made it to 105! I flew all the way from Honolulu to Rockwood, Tennessee to be a part of her celebration. I left that town more than fifty years ago and now I find Aunt Roxie has become the Queen of Rockwood. She was named the Golden Treasure of her county and we set up a scholarship in her name at the local college. You would not believe how alive she is and how alive she makes everyone feel.
She remembers the day, when she was eight years old when her family left the farm and walked 16 miles to the town where she now lives. She led the family cow. There were seven girls in the family and her father was a farmer. She, and all of her sisters, began working in the local hosiery mill when they finished third grade.
Her memories of growing up are crisp and clear as a mountain stream. She shared her life story with the 200 people who came to honor her. She remembers the first time she saw an automobile, she was 8! She remembers names and events better than any of us. She lived in the house her husband built for her, in 1924, until entering the local ‘long term care facility’. . She is the oldest ‘active’ Baptist in the U. S.. Shes been a member for 88 years in the same church! Still goes!
All of her family is gone, of course her parents but also all of her brothers and sisters, her husband and all of her children.
Yet, she lives to love.She still writes a column for her local paper and is said to be the oldest columnist alive. Her articles are filled with love of neighbor and family.
Until she was 100 she cooked in her kitchen every day and people came and picked up food for the sick or ‘shut ins’. Even after she was more than a 100 she was still baking hundreds of cookes to give at Christmas to the community. She grew vegetables and made quilts and began a ‘mission fund’ when she was seventy. Today that fund has close to $50,000.
People say they come to ‘cheer her up’ and they leave knowing that she cheered them.
In August she returns to the 100 acre family farm to help celebrate the Guettner family which still owns the land her great grandparents purchased when they immigrated from Germany in 1854. She shows us where her grandmother hid the family cow from the Yankees who were on their way to the Battle of Chattanooga.
My Aunt Roxie is a marvel of marvels. She still calls me the ‘kid’ and I’m 72. She makes me young beyond belief. She has her own web page, just type in ROXIEMCCLENDON.ORG
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