How Does It Feel to be 100 Years Old?

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

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By Mary Jo Jeter

“EUNICE DAWSON DAY” was celebrated in Byromville, Georgia on October 22, 2023 by her beloved family members and faithful friends of the community. Some traveled miles and miles to be present to help Eunice celebrate her 100th birthday.  Several weeks ago, Eunice said,” I can’t wait to see what it feels like to be 100 years old!”  What a statement! Not many people are able to say they have spent 100 years on this earth!  Eunice’s life journey began on October 21,1923 when she was born to Arthur and Addie Dawson and placed in their loving arms. She learned the lessons of patience, honesty and hard work at their hands. She began her married life to Willie “Shack” Dawson at an early age. Their legacy includes one son, Eaven, two daughters, Addie Willie and Ellaree, nine grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren and a number of great-great grandchildren, many of which live close by.  With 100 years of unforgettable memories in her memory bank, she had much to share with me. Her first “real” job was for J. H. Page, my grandfather, and she said that set the foundation for her life’s work. Eunice and I began our friendship during that time in the early 50s when she came almost every day to help my granddaddy and cook for him.   As a child, I lived next door.  I was under her feet in the kitchen and learned by watching her make his special sponge cake. On some days, she brought her daughters, Ellaree “Tarza” and Addie “Lady” to play with my sister and me in the backyard. Sweet times!   Our families’ lives have been intertwined in a loving relationship for over 70 years and continue today.  During Eunice’s long and productive lifetime, she has had a stabilizing influence on her family, her church Byrom Chapel and community of Byromville. She said, “Byromville is special to me because of its people.  I once knew just about everybody that lived here”. Eunice has demonstrated in countless ways her dedication to the well-being of others through her years of service to Byromville Elementary School and Pinehill Nursing home.  She has given loving care to many elderly citizens living here and has earned the respect and affection of people from all walks of life. If anyone ever lived a good life, Eunice is that person. Nobody comes around her without being impacted positively by her kindness and gentleness. Eunice said that her family was very close and she cherishes the memories of her mother quilting and cooking. She said, “I guess that’s why I have always cooked so well. I learned by watching my mama.”  When her parents opened the café on the corner of Main and Church Street, she stayed at home where she cooked the Boston butts and hams for barbeque that was sold at the café. She said she also made pineapple cakes that they served there, too. “I still love pineapple cake! It’s always been my favorite!” The people of Byromville celebrated her 100th year milestone with a shower of birthday cards and a Birthday Parade by her house on Sunday afternoon, October 22. Eunice, who wore a sparkly 100th birthday tiara and sash, watched and waved from her decorated porch. The Lester and Dawson families used birthday banners, balloons and streamers and presented her with gifts and birthday cake.Through all of life’s ups and downs, Eunice has shown courage and her loving heart. She can look back at her life and be proud because with her love of people, she has touched the lives of many. She is an inspiration to us all and we are so grateful to have her in our lives.  What a legacy for us and the generation to come!  So, how does it feel to be 100 years old?  Her answer, “I just don’t know how to explain it, but it feels good. I don’t have any pains at all.  The only thing is that my memory is not as good as it used to be!  Maybe it will get better!”

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