She’s seen a lot in her 101 years on Earth

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Margaret Curran’s 101 years, she’s seen airplanes take flight, movies hit the big screen and man step foot on the moon; however, one the greatest things to happen in her life was watching as women achieved the right to vote.

Curran, a Florala resident because “I never had anywhere else to go,” was 19 when the women’s suffrage movement reached its pinnacle in the U.S. in 1920.

“She’s voted in more elections than most people are old,” family said.

Curran is the granddaughter of the late J.T. Manning – of the infamous Manning’s Landing at Lake Jackson – and she spoke of her time in the small, rural town. She was raised in Florala proper and graduated from Covington County High School in 1927.

“You know, I am 100-and-something years old, so I can’t remember all that great,” Curran said. “But I remember I was as mean as the devil, and I loved reading the newspaper.”

She has traded her small home next to the Florala Hospital for a room across the street at Florala Health and Rehab. She spends her time with her roommate, Bessie Qualls.

Nurses say the two make quite the pair. Both in wheelchairs, Qualls is the “eyes” of the operation. Curran can always be found close by as the two navigate the hallways, and while age might have lessened her mobility, it has not dampened her sense of humor.

“I’m old,” Curran said. “I’m deaf as a post and only have one-and-a-half eyes to see with. I like going around, visiting.

“I’m kin to everyone in this place,” she said. “You can’t live here for as long as I have and not be kin to everyone. Besides, I can’t get out of this place. Guess they think I’ll contaminate my house or something.”

Most of the time, Curran and Qualls enjoy life at FH&R. They spend their days “visiting” and attending many of the daily activities.

“I like the bluegrass band and going to church,” she said. “Now, I like to sit in the front and watch the birds.”

Of course, one of the most attended activities at the nursing home was Curran’s recent birthday party, where, in addition to staff and FH&R residents, many friends and family gathered to celebrate Curran’s milestone.

Also attending were Curran’s sons, Dave of Lakewood, Fla., and Henry of Athens, Ga.; and daughter and son-in-law, Dorothy and John Black of Swainsboro, Ga.

Curran said she received many “nice” presents, including a visit from CNA Alexandria O’Shields and her twin sons, Keagan and Greyson Allen, who were born on Sept. 20 – exactly 100 years to the day that she was.

As for voting in the upcoming election, Curran said she’s going to have to pass on the politics.

“They won’t let me out to go vote,” she said. “Besides, I don’t have a clue who’s running. I’m old, remember.”

Margaret Curran recently turned 101 years old, and she’s seen a lot of change during that time. | Stephanie Nelson/ Star-News