110-year-old woman looks back on long life
Jay Kenworthy, the Star Press
her eyesight seems poor, that's OK. She has seen more than most people.
body might not be quite what it was 20 years ago and certainly not what it
was 90 years ago, but that's just fine. At 110, Fry's mind is as bright as
her pearly smile.
was born Dec. 1, 1893, on a farm in Vevay, a small town in southeastern
Indiana. She has lived in the Hoosier state all but four years of her
life, and on Dec. 1, she celebrated her 110th birthday at Westminster
Village in Muncie.
runs in the family
an example of all the good things about growing old," Westminster
administrator Betty DeVoe said of Fry. "Her mind is phenomenal."
says her oldest resident is about as independent as a person in an
assisted living home can be. She lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment,
gets ready by herself every morning and walks from the far wing to the
cafeteria three times a day.
you get to be as old as I am, you have to have help of some kind,"
Fry said in a recent interview. DeVoe, however, disagreed.
don't do anything for her," DeVoe said quietly enough so Fry couldn't
moved into Westminster in 1978 at the age of 84, but the village is a far
cry from her farm roots in Vevay.
seemed destined for longevity, despite the fact that she was born on a
farm in the late 19th century. According to AARP, the life expectancy for
a white female born in 1900 was 51 years, but her family had a history of
she cannot remember his exact age, Fry says her paternal grandfather lived
well into the 1900s. Her mother lived to be almost 90, and her dad lived
to be 95.
almost didn't have the chance to realize her potential for longevity. She
needed to have her tonsils and adenoids removed at age 16. Her life could
have ended then.
used a fork with two tongs," Fry said of the old procedure. "And
they used local anesthetic, but they didn't wait long enough for it to
explained that something went wrong during the surgery.
doctor came in and held me for a couple of hours," she said.
"They thought I was going to bleed to death."
whole new world
a youngster, her family was always on the cutting edge of technology. They
were among the first in the town to have a radio, telephone and
father worked hard to get a telephone," Fry said. "He listened
to the radio at noon, when they gave the farm prices, then he would call
the other farmers to tell them."
said her life didn't change much before the telephone came along. It
changed again when she went to Hanover College.
opened up a whole new world for me because there were people there from
all over," she said.
met her first husband at Hanover before returning to Vevay to teach at her
old one-room schoolhouse. She taught for four years before raising her two
children. Her first husband died in the late 1930s and she married her
second husband during World War II.
husband may have been her soul mate. She went to grammar school with him
and they grew up together. They fell in love and married after their first
has since outlived that husband. She didn't say exactly when he died.
been alone for a long time," she said.
's two children - who are in their late 70s - five grandchildren and nine
great-grandchildren keep her company. And she remembers everything about
joyfully discusses her extended family and their spouses, even though most
of them are spread across Indiana and the rest of the country.
of them are working to get Fry registered as one of the oldest people in
milestone age doesn't matter much to her, she says. She worries more about
"I want them to live," she says of her children and grandchildren. "I'm so near the other world that I don't know sometimes if I'm in this one or out of it."