“Aunt” Janie Lloyd celebrates milestone birthday

The year was 1917. Many say it is the most important year of the 20th century due to all the dramatic events worldwide that changed the course of history. First and foremost was President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to declare war on Germany and enter the conflict in Europe that became known as World War I. Additional major events included governments in Russia, China, Greece, and Turkey being overthrown through revolutions and the Jewish people returning to Jerusalem.

America also became permanently transformed. The federal government took an unprecedented role in guiding the economy. Women made great strides toward political equality and wartime jobs beckoned thousands of African Americans to northern cities in what is known as the Great Migration.

J. Edgar Hoover was named as the first director of the FBI, Mati Hari was put on trial for being a German spy and Al Capone rose to leadership in the criminal underworld. Plastic surgery was pioneered and Honus Wagner, the first to be selected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, retired.

Locally, the year 1917 was important as well. The first day of December to be exact. What made that day so special? That was the day that Janie Lloyd, who recently turned 105 years old, was born in the house, not 50 yards from where she lives today in the Mt. Mariah community east of Chatham.

Let that sink in a second. This incredibly vivacious woman fondly referred to as “Aunt” Janie still lives at home. Not only that, she lives there BY HERSELF. Think about how remarkable that is. Still self-sufficient at the age of 105.

What is almost as amazing as her living by herself at that age is she prepares and cooks her meals, washes her clothes, cleans her house, and fills out her bills for payment. She remains very active, rivaling people half her age, needing no assistance getting around.

In her leisure time, she likes to complete pattern sketches with colored pencils, never once getting outside the lines. She also enjoys the quiet times as well, sitting on her couch watching the news and old westerns. Most of all, she loves it when her family, friends, and neighbors come to see her daily and take her places, especially to church every Sunday.

Like everyone, age has robbed her of some things. When talking to her, you do need to “speak up” a little as ‘Aunt’ Janie’s hearing isn’t what it used to be. You won’t find her wearing hearing aids though.

“I don’t like them things,” she said simply.

“Aunt” Janie doesn’t wear glasses either, except for every now and then when she runs across some real fine print. Then she will put on her “readers.” It isn’t because she doesn’t like doing so. She doesn’t need to. She has the eyes of an eagle. 

What is her secret?

“I don’t have one,” she said laughingly. “There is nothing special about getting up every day and doing what you are supposed to do.”

Maybe that is it.

Doing what you are supposed to do.

Like walking to and from Mt. Moriah school every day, which she did until completing the 9th grade. In those days that was about as far as you went in school. Doing what you are supposed to also included her “chores” of churning the butter, milking the cow, feeding the chickens, planting and picking vegetables, and getting the meat out of the smokehouse. She also had to bring water from the well, cook and form out the soap, keep a fire going in the fireplace and cookstove and keep the lamps full of oil for lighting. This and more were required in those days of long ago.

“We didn’t go to any store to get what we needed back then,” reflected Aunt Janie. “We grew or raised what we ate and made most all our supplies.”

What a different world than today.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to witness the invention of television? How amazing it must have been the first time she flipped a switch and the lights came on? One can only wonder how it felt when she pressed a button on an electric stove to heat the oven instead of adding wood to the cookfire or hearing the whir of a motorized refrigerator/freezer instead of cooling things with blocks of ice? Or maybe best of all, enjoying the benefits of “indoor plumbing.” Anyone who ever had to use an “outhouse” would attest to how great that must have been.

Imagine how thrilling it was watching the first jet planes fly across the sky or seeing rockets soar into outer space for the first time. Imagine seeing all the other modern conveniences we take for granted today come into being and the advancements made in the medical world.

“Aunt” Janie got to witness it all firsthand!

Best of all, she remembers it all as if it happened just yesterday as her mind is still sharp as the proverbial tack.

Yes, 1917 was a special year for many reasons. One is that this was the year that one of the most remarkable women you would ever want to meet was born. That also makes 2022 special. This is the year that we get to celebrate her still being with us at the age of 105. Happy Birthday, Aunt Janie!


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One thought on ““Aunt” Janie Lloyd celebrates milestone birthday

  1. I am so proud of the post you all done on Cuzzin Janie for her 105th Birthday. Thank you so very much we are greatly appreciative.

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