She’s seen 107 ‘New Years’

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, January 1, 2009

There hasn’t always been as much hoopla over the dawning of a new year as there is now, Tachie Perry said as she waited for a New Year’s Eve party to begin at Andalusia Manor Wednesday afternoon.

She should know. She’s seen 107 of them in her lifetime.

“There wasn’t much celebrating,” she said. “We worked. My husband thought he always had to be in that store.”

“That store” is the one located at the crossroads in the Perry’s Store community. She married her late husband in 1923.

“We waited until we were grown (to marry),” she said. Asked how she met him, she recalled that their first meeting was in Florala, at the annual 24th of June Masonic celebration.

“My sister was with Charlie Qualls,” she recalled. “I was down at the lake taking to someone else. Charlie came around the corner and introduced Bob Perry to me.”

The attraction must have been instant, because Mrs. Perry recalled that she left the young man with whom she had been visiting and spent the rest of the day on the arm of the man who would become her husband.

“I went with Bob and that was it,” she said, adding that she always felt a little guilty about leaving the first young man so quickly.

Within two years, she and Bob Perry married. The couple had four children, three of whom are still alive. Her grandson, Trammell Perry, is now in business at the crossroads as the owner of Perry’s Restaurant.

“It’s a great place to be in business,” she said. “Everybody goes by there going somewhere.”

The secret to her longevity, she said, is just “taking one day at the time.”

While New Year’s Eve hasn’t always been special for Mrs. Perry, this one was. Andalusia Manor recognized her as its oldest resident.

“I’m a hundred and seven and a half,” Mrs. Perry said. “I was born in 1901; now that was a long time ago.”

Sal.Lee Sasser, director of operations for Sasser Enterprises, parent company of Andalusia Manor, presented her with a brooch during the party. She said Mrs. Perry is amazing.

“She lived at home until she was 96,” Sasser said. “And then she came to Savannah Terrace before the Manor. She still has an amazing memory and tells great stories.”

Jo Linda Farris, a member of the activities staff at Andalusia Manor, said she’s known the oldest resident with whom she works all of her life.

“My grandparents lived next door to them,” she said. “So we’re just family.”

Mrs. Perry introduced Mrs. Farris as “my daughter,” then added that the families had been together through everything.

“If there was a high wind, or a storm, we were together during it,” she said.

Mrs. Farris said she has always admired Mrs. Perry.

“I think of her as a woman of many talents,” she said. “She was never one to sit around. She painted china, she did projects. She’s amazing.”