100 years young: Mrs. Perkins celebrates today

Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Today, March 4, 2010, Voncille Perkins is a centenarian.

That’s a rather elite group; after all, it takes 100 years to become a member.

“I never even thought about getting to be 100 years old,” Mrs. Perkins said with a smile. “That’s just not something you think about. Or I didn’t. But I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve been really blessed.”

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Mrs. Perkins is a resident at Nobel Manor and the manor is “throwing” a 100th birthday celebration for her today. Then, on Sunday her church, First United Methodist of Troy, will “throw” another celebration for her milestone birthday.

“God has been good to me,” Mrs. Perkins said. “I don’t know why He’s let me live this long, but I’m glad. But God did it. I didn’t do a thing.”

Her mind is sharp and her health is good. So, surely, Mrs. Perkins had some advice on living a long life.

“I’ve always loved to read,” she said earlier this week. “I’d read anything. It didn’t matter what. And, I love to put puzzles together. But I can’t do much of either one anymore, and I miss it. But, I’ve been blessed that I’ve not been sick a lot. But the last few months my feet have hurt and my legs, but my health has been good most of these 100 years.”

Mrs. Perkins said she doesn’t watch much television.

“Oh, I can see it all right,” she said, with a smile. “There’s just nothing to television. I haven’t watched it in so long, now somebody would have to teach me how to watch it.”

So reading and puzzles are good for the mind, but what about the body?

“I don’t care too much for vegetables,” Mrs. Perkins said. “But I do love sweets, especially chocolate. I like chocolate candy.”

So, a good book and a box of chocolate candy are Mrs. Perkins’ secret to a long, healthy life.

And contentment.

“I’ve always been well-satisfied,” she said. “I was born out in the country around here, and we lived on a farm. My mama was very strict but she was the best person I have ever known. She made sure that we went to church. We went to the Methodist church nearly four miles down the road whenever the doors opened, but there was a Baptist church just a hop and jump down the road. If they were having a service there, we went to it, too. Church was a big part of our lives.”

When Mrs. Perkins finished “playschool,” her sister had moved to Troy to work.

“I came to stay with her and go to school,” Mrs. Perkins said. “After school, I got married and went to work at the Farmers Home Administration. And, that’s about it.”

Mrs. Perkins said she enjoyed dancing, “the waltz, not the jitterbug” but she was never bitten by the travel bug.

“I went to places around here – Montgomery and Selma – and to the beach, but I didn’t really want to go off anywhere,” she said. “I would like to have seen the mountains, though. I think they would be pretty.

“I did ride on an airplane once or twice, but that didn’t make an impression on me. I was just satisfied where I was.”

So, a good book, a box of chocolates, a contented heart … “and a strong faith in God.”

Those are the ingredients Voncille Perkins recommends for a good life. And, she speaks now from 100 years experience.

“The older I’ve gotten the closer I’ve gotten to God,” she said.

“Maybe I think more about dying, but I don’t worry about it. You don’t need to worry about things. It’s not good for you. I don’t really know what heaven’s like. I just hope I go there.

But of some concern to Mrs. Perkins is what to wear to her birthday parties. “They told me that I needed to buy a new dress, but they don’t make dresses for people my age,” she said. “So, I think I’ll just wear my long, blue skirt with a figured blouse. But I might change my mind. I’m allowed to do that. I’m 100 years old.”

All friends of Mrs. Perkins are invited to drop by First United Methodist Church around 2 p.m. Sunday with well wishes.

“But don’t bring a present,” she said. “I don’t need a thing.”