105 and rising — Gridley woman grateful for long and rewarding life – Oroville Mercury-Register

GRIDLEY – The year was 1917. Buffalo Bill Cody was dead, the United States entered World War I, the Bolsheviks seized control of the Russian government, the Chicago White Sox defeated the New York Giants in the 15th World Series, a newspaper cost two cents, a loaf of bread cost nine cents, coffee 30 cents a pound, and Thanksgiving turkeys cost 39 cents a pound. It was also the year that Ella Fitzgerald, John F. Kennedy, Dizzy Gillespie and Alma (Parker) Glaze were born.

This Thanksgiving, surrounded by family and friends, Glaze will celebrate her 105th birthday with a traditional holiday dinner of turkey and pie at the home of her son, Mike Glaze.

“I’m looking forward to it. I don’t need anything. I have no desire for anything special, just nice cards and my family. The Lord gives me everything I need,” Glaze said Monday sitting at home, 38, reflecting on her century. of life.

Born on November 24, 1917, to Rufus Kay and Alma Jenkins (Bowden) Parker, sharecroppers in Heavener, rural southeastern Oklahoma, Glaze was the youngest of 11 children but, when she was born, only five of her siblings, three brothers and one two sisters, were to live. The nearest doctors were hundreds of miles away, and stillbirths and early childhood deaths were not unusual.

The Parkers didn’t have a lot of money, but Glaze remembers a loving and caring childhood.

“We always attended a good church. Every night before we went to bed, we would kneel down and thank the Lord for the day and say good night. Life was beautiful and still is,” he said.

While Glaze has seen a lot of history and the advent of many new inventions in its 105 years, it remembers the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the US entry into World War II as the most significant. And although electricity was invented before she was born, he said that electric lighting and heating are the best things ever invented. She is also a fan of indoor plumbing, having grown up using an outhouse.

“Having heat and light in your house, that’s something. Growing up we had oil lamps and candles. I still have lamps, right above the mantel, to remind me of what it was like and in case the power goes out,” she said.

In addition to growing cotton, sorghum, and corn, the Parkers had a large family garden and raised chickens, pigs, and cattle, as well as dairy cows for food. Squirrel, opossum, deer, and fresh fish also increased their diet.

“As a kid I could do things on the farm. I worked all my life. For as long as I can remember, I knew how to use a hoe in the cotton and corn fields. He also drove the mule and the horses to pull the plow and cart. He wasn’t a fool,” Glaze said.

When Glaze was eight years old, her father had saved enough money to buy a used Ford Model T.

“It was very exciting, but my dad never learned to drive that Model T. I took it where it needed to go,” Glaze recalled.

Willie and Lucie Glaze and their 10 children lived within a mile of the Parkers’ farm. Glaze’s mother, Alma Parker, a midwife, had assisted in the birth of one of Glaze’s sons, Clifford, four years before Glaze was born.

When Clifford Glaze was 19 and Alma Parker was 15, the two fell in love and got married.

“I went to my wedding on horseback,” Glaze said.

Shortly after their marriage, the Great Depression hit, and the newlyweds began an 11-year migration west. Between 1933 and 1944 they lived in Lubbock, Texas; Bernalillo, New Mexico; Yuba City, California; Yuma, Ariz.; and then returned to California settling in Gridley. Although jobs were scarce, Glaze’s husband was rarely unemployed. He worked as a carpenter, truck driver, mechanic, and farm hand. During World War II, he helped build Beale Air Force Base near Marysville and Yuma Army Air Field in Arizona. Glaze also worked as a waitress, homemaker, and mother to her first child, Shirley, born in 1935. Her second child, Mike, was born in 1948, and her third child, Dan, was born in 1954.

Glaze is now a grandmother of six, a great-grandmother of “an even dozen” and a great-grandmother of four, and that, she said, “is enough.”

Over the years, while raising her children, Glaze worked at the peach cannery in Gridley, sold Avon, earned her high school diploma and studied nursing.

Glaze and her husband were married for a “happy” and “hilarious” 76 years before Clifford Glaze passed away in 2010. Glaze has been living alone since turning down the family’s invitations to live with them.

“I never feel alone. I have the Lord God. He is with me every day blessing and directing everything I do,” Glaze said.

The centenarian didn’t stop driving to the local church, shops and senior center until she was 101, and though she was convinced she could still pass the DMV written driving test with a “score of 100 percent,” he decided not to renew his license. when she was 103.

These days, Glaze likes to play dominoes with her caretakers, Sherry McKenzie and Tess Hennessy. Her family visits her regularly. Every day at 3:50 pm she is on the phone with her 88-year-old disabled neighbor and friend of her husband, Jerry Wilson. She enjoys singing and watching her favorite shows: Wheel of Fortune and reruns of Bill Gaither’s Classic Gospel and the Lawrence Welk Show on PBS. She does not own a computer or cell phone and she “has no desire” to have them as they are “just a waste of time”.

On the secret to longevity, Glaze had this to say: “Make a commitment to the Lord, stay in fellowship with him and avoid drugs and excessive alcohol consumption and eat a balanced diet, then life can be beautiful, but you have to work towards that end. Life is a great gift from God, but you have to do more than look at it. You should live it. You have to enjoy it. That’s what God wants and it’s beautiful.”

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