Woman with can-do spirit celebrates 97th year

Published 4:04 pm Monday, September 3, 2012

Ann Ware has some stories to tell.

Like the story about the dark night she had to fix a flat on rural road deep in Georgia moonshine country.

Ware and her two little girls were on their way to meet her husband, Carl, a solider who was stationed at a “camp” in South Carolina.

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The trip along the backroads was taking longer than she anticipated. Dark caught her and then, the flat stopped her in her track.

“There was no away to get help. Way back then, we didn’t have cell phones,” Ware said. “I jacked the car up enough to get the flat tire off but couldn’t jack it up enough get the good tire on. So, I dug the asphalt out deep enough that I could slide the good tire on and get us going. When we got to the base around dawn, Carl was just about crazy from worry.”

Ware’s can-do attitude has prevailed throughout her life and it’s one that she is taking into her 97th year.

“I’ve been lucky,” Ware said. “I had a good husband and my parents raised me well. God has just been so good to me. Life has been good to me.”

Ware will be 97 years young, and that’s not a cliché, on Sept. 3 and, if she could have her birthday wish, she would be in Key West with a “big one on the line.”
“I love to fish and I love to travel,” she said. “I love to go places and see things and do things. And, I love to be home with my friends playing bridge or dominoes.”

When she’s not going or doing, Ware enjoys the memories of places she has been, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters.

“Oh, I’ve loved them all,” she said. “California, Alaska, Nova Scotia, Canada. Places like the Grand Canyon, Cincinnati and Key West — that’s the place I love the best.”

And, then, there’s a place called Hazard, Kentucky, the place she calls home.

Ware grew up in the coal mining camp where her dad worked for the mining company.

“We lived in a company house,” she said. “All of the houses had three rooms, a kitchen and sitting room together and two bedrooms. They were narrow houses, one room wide. They were well built and painted.”

Although the houses had electricity, they didn’t have running water.

“The water was pumped in a huge tank and we got our water from there,” Ware said. “I had a lot of friends so I liked living at the mining camp. Of course, it was during the Depression and times were hard but my daddy always seemed to have a job and we had a big garden so we never went hungry.”

Ware was one of two students at her school who had an opportunity to go to college.

She fell in love with a young man from East Tennessee who eventually moved her to Georgia where he opened his own department store.

Ware’s work experience included a stint as ticket agent and manager of a Greyhound Bus station, a bank teller and a position with a statistics company that baffled her.
“They knew all about people,” she said. “I never dreamed there was a place like that.”

In 1959, the Wares moved to Troy where Carl Ware went into business with his brother-in-law, Ralph Fowee, at the LP Gas Company.

“We loved Troy,” Ware said. “We were very happy here. I’m still happy here. I’m doing very well for my age.”

About five years ago, Ware stepped in a hole and broke her  hip.

“I was around at the water faucet watering my flowers,” she said. “That’s where I fell. Nobody could hear me calling for help. Finally, I decided I was going to have to help myself.
So, I scooted backwards around to the front porch and the young man from across the street came and brought me the phone so I could call for help.”

Just as she took the bull by the horns and fixed a flat on the backroads of Georgia many years ago, so did Ware take the bull’s horns and help herself when she was many years down the road.
“Some things you just have to do for yourself,” she said. “Time is moving on and it’s moving mighty fast for me.

When I was a little girl, my mother told me that, even if you live to be a hundred, your life will be gone. She said that when you get older, time moves faster. I’m blessed to have lived so long but, at 97, time is moving mighty fast.”