Still Tooling Around at Age 97
Posted on Friday, November 19th, 2010
In the Pink: Callie Flanagan, 96, goes over her latest crocheting project with Don Sessions, Medicare Part D Volunteer Enroller. Open enrollment for prescription drug plans continues through December 31. Medicare beneficiaries may contact Sessions at 276-2333 for assistance.
Callie Flanagan will celebrate her 97th birthday on December 16. No specific plans have been announced, but if it goes like most days, she’ll likely:
- Eat lunch and play dominoes at the nutrition center
- Chat and joke around with fellow residents of Fern Markwell Senior Housing
- Drive herself to town
- Feel a little tired, but experience no aches or pains
Active, witty, and living on her own, Flanagan has a bright outlook on life. She’s a pleasure to be around.
And, boy, can she sew!
Recently, she presented her special friend, Don Sessions, with a hand-made afghan, and sent along a crocheted clothes hanger, tied with a bow, to his wife (yours truly), whom she hadn’t met, for good measure.
Sessions, a volunteer, helped Flanagan enroll in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan last year, and Flanagan now calls him each time she receives a “paper” of any sort from the government. He stops by to help interpret.
“I don’t know anything about papers,” she said with a chuckle. “I grew up when we didn’t have papers.”
Crocheting has been an 85-year hobby of Flanagan’s and there are many samples in her sunny apartment. She takes pride in reading any crocheting instruction and proceeding with the project.
And she sews despite the loss of four fingers on her left hand due to an industrial accident years ago.
“It don’t bother me,” she said. “I got used to it. I got a busy right hand and I got a thumb over here and half of a finger. I never do pay it no mind.”
Her current project is a Christmas tree skirt for her granddaughter. To get the lettering for the project just right, she plans to go to the library and use the reducing copier.
She’ll drive there in her 22-year old Oldsmobile. “I’ve got a good car and it don’t have a lot of miles. It drives so quiet and nice. Once, I left the car running at the bank, and it was idling so pretty, no one noticed. It’s a good thing I had another key in my purse.”
Flanagan was raised on a farm in the Eastman area, the youngest of five children of Henry and Mary Lang. She walked to the two-room schoolhouse about 1.5 miles from her home through the eighth grade.
“I wanted to go over to Burneyville, but I would have had to ride a horse and my mother wouldn’t let me,” she said.
She credits her upbringing for her thoughtful ways. “We minded our parents and were polite all the day,” she said.
A Saturday trip to Marietta was the family’s entertainment. Flanagan landed her first job there at age 18.
“A man set up a picture-taking machine on East Main. He walked up and down the street getting customers and I took the pictures. They were three for a quarter. I made about $2 a day.”
Other employers she remembers were Saunders Variety Store and Selvidge Drug.
Flanagan later attended beauty school in Oklahoma City and worked for years as a hairdresser in Ardmore and then at the cookie shop in Marietta.
She retired to help care for first her father, then her mother in their old age.
She has one child, a daughter, Rae McKenney, who travels from Dallas every Saturday to help with errands.
Flanagan has outlived her sister and brothers and many other relatives, but can’t account for her long life. “My mother lived to be 90. I don’t know what I did. I didn’t punish myself no way.”
Aside from her easy-going manner, Flanagan credits a heart pacemaker, received last year, for her current good health. “I tire easily but I don’t have no pain,” she said.
May it always be so, Callie Flanagan. Happy birthday!