Still spunky at 101
Wexford House resident Regina Pat Crawley remembers the day she retired from her job, but she hasn’t retired from the joys of life. At 101-years-old and with a birthday coming up in August, Pat is the oldest resident living at the Wexford House, a DePaul senior living community in Denver, North Carolina. She’s packed quite a lot of life into the century of living.
Originally from Statesville, North Carolina, Pat was one of three children. Growing up, she put a lot of value on education. She wouldn’t let anything stop her from being on time for school, even a train wreck.
“One morning, there was a train stopped on the track that we had to cross to get to school,” she recalls. “We crawled under that train to get across the tracks so we wouldn’t be tardy. When I went home that night and told my mother what we did, she just about had a fit.”
Then there was the time her brother accidentally hit her in the head with an axe while chopping wood. She wound up needing surgery. On her way to the operating room, she asked the doctor if she would be able to attend school in the morning.
“He said ‘Yes, you can go to school tomorrow.’ I didn’t get to go to school in the morning. I never did like that doctor because he told me a story,” Pat said.
After graduating from a junior college, Pat took a Civil Service exam. She passed the test and received notice that she was up for a job at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. In her early 20’s, Pat had never left home alone. A family friend accompanied her on her new adventure. On their arrival to the nation’s capital, she helped Pat find her way around and locate housing.
“Going to the Washington Monument, walking up the stairway to that monument, and oh the cherry blossoms when they were in bloom in the spring, everything was so different,” she said.
Pat has many fond memories of working in Washington, D.C. where she set currency plates and paper used to print money. Debating on whether or not to take early retirement in her early 60’s, things changed on her way home from work one evening in 1966 when Pat heard on the radio that the retirement age had been lowered from 62 to 55.
“The next day I went to work and I was back home by 11:30 in the morning, and I was retired,” she recollects.
Pat moved to Wexford House in 2010 and has continued to thrive. Every Thursday, her nephew picks her up for breakfast and then it’s off to church where Pat volunteers, helping stuff backpacks with food for local school children.
Although Pat’s sight and hearing have diminished over the years, she’s always loved to crochet, and estimates she has made at least 100 afghans for children, babies and adults.
“That kept me busy,” she said. “I enjoyed doing it and giving them away.”
A regular church-goer, Regina said there’s no secret to her longevity.
“The good Lord isn’t ready for me and the devil evidently doesn’t want me,” she said. “That’s the only reason I can give you for how I’ve lived so long.”
For more information about Wexford House, please contact Administrator Pam Morrell at (704) 489-2633.