Streeter has seen a lot of change in her hundred years

Published 11:00 pm Friday, January 24, 2014

Troy has changed a lot in the past 70 years, but, through all the changes, one thing has remained the same — Mrs. Inez Streeter of L.C. McMillan Avenue.

This past Friday, Mrs. Streeter celebrated her 100th birthday. Ever since she moved to Troy 70 years ago, she has been living at the same house on L.C. McMillan Avenue. “I’ve been here 70 years,” Mrs. Streeter said. “My husband built this house for me. This is just home. I am originally from Alexander City in Tallapoosa County. Everything in Troy has changed. When I came to Troy it was just a little country town. Now it’s a city.”

Mrs. Streeter’s age has given her perspective. For her entire life, she has remained grounded. “I have three favorite things about Troy—my house, my church and my job,” Mrs. Streeter said. “I worked for 40 years at Peak Green Cleaners. I started as a presser and left as a manager. I wish I could get up and go to work every morning. I love working.”

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For Mrs. Streeter, faith has been the guiding light of her life for the past 100 years. “The church is all I’ve ever known,” Mrs. Streeter said. “I don’t know if I could have made it if not for the church. I have sense enough to know what’s best for me. If you do your best, the best will come back to you.”

Generations of children in Mrs. Streeter’s neighborhood have grown up learning from her wisdom. One of those children, Helen C. Coleman, said Mrs. Streeter has become a neighborhood institution. “The first time I went to Sunday school, it was Mrs. Streeter who taught me,” Coleman said. “She always had a lot of children around her. She impacted so many lives. When they come back to town, they make sure to stop by and see her. She has been an inspiration for the whole neighborhood. She has lived the life God told her to live, like a soldier in God’s array.”

Mrs. Streeter has always believed that it takes a community to raise a child. “I love young people,” Mrs. Streeter said. “I know that the older people need to guide the younger people. If they don’t, the young people won’t have nothing to walk by. If the older people do right, the young people will do better. I’m still young at heart. I never had any children of my own, but no one has more kids than me. I love them, and they love me.”

Coleman is one of Mrs. Streeter’s “kids.” “Mrs. Streeter is beautiful,” Coleman said. “She’s doing better than most of us are. She still gives me advice and has a lot of wisdom. She’s seen a lot of things and understands life better than most people. She always tells me to pay my dues, and, if I do that, life will straighten itself out.”

Bethel Baptist Church, where Mrs. Streeter attends, will be throwing her a 100th birthday party today at 2 p.m. Mrs. Streeter said she was touched that the church would take the time to honor her. “I’m going to go and enjoy myself,” Mrs. Streeter said. “It’s special that they love me enough to do that.”

As far as birthday wishes go, Mrs. Streeter doesn’t have one. She said she has already received more in her life than she ever wanted. “I got everything I ever wished for,” Mrs. Streeter said. “When I was a little girl, I decided I wanted five things. I wanted a good husband, I wanted to live close to my church, I wanted a home to call my own, I wanted to eat pretty, lean meat, and I wanted a piano. I got the first four, and I could have got the piano, but I never had the space for it.”

For those hoping to join Mrs. Streeter in the centennial club, she offered this advice. “Live your life every day like it is your last one,” Mrs. Streeter said. “Be yourself, and be your best self. Most importantly, love the Lord and treat others the way you want them to treat you.”