The new millennium – Bah, Humbug?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Features Editor

When the new millennium rolls around, Mary Pittman’s life will have spanned three centuries. To that she says, "Hurrah!"

To the new millennium, she says "Bah, humbug!"

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Pittman is 104 years old, "going on 105." She was born in the Ebenezer community Oct. 28, 1895 by natural childbirth which was the only option her mother had. Her memories of the 1800s are limited to child’s play and the love of home.

"We lived on a farm and worked hard with not a lot to show for it," Pittman said, adding there was a closeness to family, friends and neighbors that bound the people of the community together by a simple thread.

"We did for each other and we cared about each other and, what little we had, we were glad of," she said.

Pittman said her daddy was a kind and gentle man who thought her place was in the house with her mother.

"Some children worked in the field and my daddy would take me with him sometimes but, after a little while, he would say, ‘Daught – that’s what he called me – Daught, you’d better go on back to the house and help your mama," Pittman said. "I’d do like he said. I’d go on back."

As a young woman, Pittman said she enjoyed dancing but wasn’t permitted to go to dances. "Daddy was firm on that."

She married young and got to go dancing.

"My husband liked to dance, too, so I got to dance a lot," Pittman said, laughing.

She found enjoyment in the simple things and life was hard, "but I didn’t know it."

Pittman traveled along pig trails on a mule and wagon. She "toted" water from the well, read by lantern light, washed in a pot and tended a kitchen garden.

When the Great Depression came it just meant having less of a little "and we did all right and life was good."

Pittman said she was blessed with a child, two good husbands, a loving family, friends and good health. She said she couldn’t have asked for more.

Her eyes twinkle when she figures she was married more years than most people can hope to live.

"I had 47 good years with my first husband before he died and 42 good years with my second husband before he died," she said. "That a lot of years. How many? Eighty-nine – that is a lot."

Pittman was witness to the arrival of many inventions that made life easier if not better for everyone.

"My first husband bought one of the first cars in the county," she said. "It was a Chevrolet – a black Chevrolet – and I learned to drive it as quick as I could. I was so happy and proud. I’d ride anybody that wanted to get in."

She and her husband also had the only radio around their neck of the woods.

"Nobody else had a radio so every night our house would be packed with people listening to the radio," Pittman said. "We didn’t mind. We were proud to have them."

Pittman marveled at the flushing toilet and saw the man on the moon become a reality. She talked on the telephone instead of over the backyard fence and saw the world come into her house in a big wooden tubed box.

"I can’t think of all that’s happened in my lifetime," she said, "but I don’t think what’s ahead is all that good. The world is getting to be a troublesome place. Parents don’t raise their children right. They just turn them loose and let them go where they want to go and come back when they get ready. We never did such as that."

All the things Pittman sees on television and hears on the news make her wonder what the new millennium will bring.

"My life has been a good one," she said. "I’ve stayed pretty close to home and that’s where I wanted to be. I think I’ve lived most of my 104 years in the best century."

Pittman said she has no secret formula for a long, happy, healthy life. She did say she never smoked or drank alcoholic beverages or dipped "but I did love to dance and be merry."

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

Maybe that’s the 100 year old secret?

"Probably it is."