Editor's note: The following essay about the life of Miriam Mowery, of Milroy, who turns 100 on Oct. 11, was written and submitted by her niece, Ellen E. Wilson, of Canterbury, Conn.
Miriam E. (Hoffman) Mowery, of Milroy ,will celebrate her 100th birthday on Oct. 11, 2012. To mark the occasion, her many nieces and nephews will host an informal, drop-in reception with visiting and refreshments from 2 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 13 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Belleville.
Invitees include her friends, church community and extended family.
On May 26, 1944, Miriam Hoffman married the love of her life, Lambert Mowery.
Daughter of the late Lewis and Effie (Snook) Hoffman, Miriam was born in Snyder County, Pennsylvania, on the auspicious date of 10/11/12-a special birthdate for a special person, according to her family.
The cultural and technological transformations during her lifetime are nearly unfathomable.
Imagine, she was born the year Titanic sank; knew many Civil War veterans in her youth; grew up without electricity and indoor plumbing; and was an adult before ever having a phone or radio.
Her family traveled by horse and wagon in warm weather, and when it snowed, by horse-drawn sled. She remembers once being launched into a snow bank when her dad drove the horse too fast around a curve and the sled upset, sending all the occupants flying.
You might think things were boring for an adolescent girl on a farm on the Back Mountain Road to Siglerville, but Miriam's life in her teens and early 20s was a social whirlwind. As many as three or four evenings a week, she and her sisters and brothers went to dances held in the hosts' homes, church functions, parties, picnics, and summer festivals, not to mention the steady stream of friends, relatives, and suitors who made their way to the farm.
With no modern means of communication, visitors might drop by unannounced or might mail a postcard a day or two ahead to announce their plans. Often, when the family came home after a day away, they would find unexpected guests patiently waiting on the porch.
Because there was no ambient light pollution, on clear moonless nights she recalls seeing more stars than any of us can conceive. The down side was you also couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Walking across the farmhouse porch one pitch-dark night, she took a nosedive into the cellar because somebody had left up the trapdoor to the stairs.
Miriam married late according to the standards of the time. However, being so choosy worked out perfectly for her. On May 26, 1944, she married the love of her life, Lambert Mowery, fondly called "Boose." They did not have children of their own, but lavished affection and attention on their many nieces and nephews, nearly all of whom recite memories of how special their aunt and uncle made them feel through unfailing kindness, his athletic prowess, her great pies and extraordinary green thumb. When you were a kid, they were adults who seemed genuinely interested in you, and at a time when that wasn't so common as today. Even in more recent years, at family gatherings Miriam could often be found sitting on the floor entertaining the little ones. That's why nowadays she is most commonly known as "Aunt Miriam."
At her age, Miriam is the last remaining member of her immediate family, having over the years lost her parents, her brothers Raymond and Luther, and her sisters Grace, Sarah, and Mildred. She says she has no idea why she's lived to be 100, still of sound mind and in reasonably good health. However, those who know and love her best attribute her long, productive life to a fortunate mix of luck, faith, humor, and close emotional ties to others.