Friday, January 2, 2015

Who says 100 is old? Not in my family.

Today, January 2, 2015, is the 100th birthday of my cousin, Monteen Hayman, in Palmetto, Florida.
When I was compiling information on all my Council aunts and uncles for my book, Profiles and Pedigrees, The Descendants of Thomas Charles Council (1858-1911) Monteen wrote the history of her family. The details she supplied about her father's life, his early years in the south-central area of Florida that was emerging in 1906, created an  interesting insight to the history of the area as well as how her father and mother were respected leaders in their community. He was a carpenter and often built coffins for families when they lost a loved one. He worked in a shipyard during WWII, but returned to Palmetto and bought an acre of land near the Palm View region where he built a house. Later he bought more land to farm and the family moved there. My own father, as a young man, worked for Uncle Charlie on the farm.

Monteen described how the "truck-farming" was done. I found that an interesting part of the story, as well. When I was down in Palmetto last year, I saw where Monteen taught elementary school for many years and where her brothers attended school. She took me to the church where she met her future husband, Hollis, when they were kids, and to the cemetery where many of the family is buried.

I could visualize from the stories I've heard, my father, aunts and uncles back in the early 20th century, the parties on the beach, the dancing to the record player. Monteen wrote that only Uncle Charlie's home had a telephone. When neighbors needed to make a phone call, they were welcome to come to Charlie and Verter's house. Verter was nurse and midwife for the community. Several of my aunts lived with Uncle Charlie until they could get a place of their own.

Monteen is devout in her faith, and I believe her faith has kept her going through the rough times, the losses of her husband and other family members, as well as broken hip bones and such. Her eyes twinkle when she smiles and her sense of humor is very much intact. She is a pretty lady.

Monteen at age 99 and her brother who was 89 at the time of the photo.
Happy Birthday, Monteen. I wish I could be there to celebrate with all your family. I heard that this has been a wonderful day with calls, cards and flowers, and newspapers will be interviewing you and your daughter, Beverly. I hope the coming year will be healthy and happy for you and that next year at this time, we will be wishing you another happy birthday. .


DJan said...

Happy birthday, Monteen! That is quite a milestone, one that few of us will ever reach. I just finished reading "A Century of Wisdom" about Alice Herz-Sommer, who died earlier this year at 110. She was the oldest living Holocaust survivor. :-)

Anonymous said...

Love the picture of Monteen and Charlie! What a wonderful tribute to her. I always learn things I never knew about the family! Happy Birthday Monteen!

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

This is awesome. Happy Birthday to Monteen. Loved the photo of Monteen and Charlie. What a great story about her.