Faith, Family, Friends
Faye Flory of Saginaw has been blessed with a lot of living and loving during her 98 years on this side of heaven. While many of us are plagued by “senior moments” and fears of dementia long before 98, Ms. Faye is as sharp as the proverbial tack. Unlike many elders whose most vivid memories happened 40 or 50 years ago, her present is as bright as her past.
“I was married to my husband Wayne 58-years,” she said with pride, “but we were together long before our wedding day in 1944. He used to walk me home from school when we were 12, but he could take me only so far. My daddy selected a certain mailbox and told him not to pass it. He never did because he respected daddy. Besides, my granddaddy chunked rocks at him if he accidently went a couple steps too far!”
Wayne was in the Navy, serving on an aircraft carrier during World War II. “I missed him and worried about him, but I trusted the Lord to take care of him. We wrote to one another a lot.
“He knew he wanted to be a minister (Baptist) long before he went into the service. He got out in 1945, discharged in Norfolk, Virginia. It took him three days to get from there to Texas, which is where I was.”
There were some difficult times, but Ms. Faye just considers them all as “part of her journey. I’ve lived through a lot of changes, but a mighty thread of loving the Lord held everything together…
“I know there was a point in my growing up when we were pretty poor, but we never thought about it. All I know is I was well taken care of my entire life.
“For the most part, I always worked full-time outside the house – even with four kids. Wayne started seminary almost as soon as he was out of the Navy. I had two strong points – I was good with figures and was blessed with an excellent memory. Those two things led me into accounting for 25-years, working quite a long time for the county clerk in Tarrant County. It was 1981 when I learned about computers. By then, I was at the courthouse in child support and marriage licenses.”
Ms. Faye knew the fundamentals of driving by the time she was 12. “We had a 1929 Model A Touring car,” she recalled. “I sat next to daddy, and he let me shift while he held in the clutch. I got to where I could drive just about anything. Actually, I drove until I was almost 93.”
Ms. Faye doesn’t quite fit the stereotypical mold of a 98-year-old. Should someone this age be so mentally alert, familiar with computers, and still good with numbers? Yes, she is walking with the aid of a rollator due to a touch of arthritis and pain in one leg. She’s getting help through physical therapy. She recently moved in with her daughter Debbie, also in Saginaw. They go out to lunch, and they shop. Friends and relatives set up more lunch dates. According to Debbie, they watch a lot of Hallmark movies (especially during the Christmas holidays), and her mom is a voracious reader. “She’ll often go through a book a day,” Debbie revealed. And, of course, she’s a favorite at the local Senior Center.
The popular Ms. Faye has a lapful of awards, including one honoring her as the oldest living graduate of Lake Worth High School. “I graduated as the valedictorian,” she said. Then, with a mischievous chuckle, she added, “Of course, there were only 13 in my graduating class!”
Chances are good the native Texan would have still been valedictorian had there been 130 rather than 13! One other note – she recently threw the first pitch at a game as part of her recognition.
“It’s been a busy journey,” she said. “At one point, I worked full-time and had all four kids in different schools. It was okay. Wayne always told people they’d better get out of my way before I ran over them!
“I have 15 grandchildren, 24 greats, and one great-great. All four of my children stayed involved with the church, and they all have servant’s hearts. They say we have a legacy and a heritage of prayer. I think they’re right. We’re close. We’re rocks for one another, and the Lord is the rock for all of us.”