Blonnie Callaway celebrated a milestone birthday last week, 103 years old. She was born June 16, 1919, in Metter. Callaway observed the day in her home in Collins with several family members and her GHC Hospice family.
She is an amazing woman, and one of her daughters, Faye Callaway Neely, shared that her mother has always had a positive attitude and a superb sense of humor.
Blonnie's husband, the late Madison Callaway, died at age 61. He was a farmer and grew tobacco and other crops.
"We always had a full meal with biscuits or cornbread and one or two meats, with plenty of fresh vegetables. Since we had a lot of farm hands who helped us, Mom cooked for them to eat as well," said Faye. Like most women in those days, she cooked everything "from scratch."
"We grew up picking blackberries, and Mom made delicious blackberry jam," Faye said.
"Mom has always kept a similar schedule as far as eating breakfast and other meals, and a regular bedtime, too. Yet, I think her sense of humor and optimism have contributed to her long life," said Faye. "She still has a sound mind and a sharp wit, even though she has become hard of hearing in the last few years. Mom has always been spunky. She could do about anything she set her mind to do," said Faye. "She was a good seamstress and made purses and sold them. Mom studied a handyman's guide and taught herself carpentry, making a coffee table, shelves, a dresser, and other items.
"Mom has seen so many changes during her lifetime. We can't imagine that the way she kept the baby bottle cool was by keeping it in the well bucket inside the well. She can recall having to go to the 'ice house' to purchase big blocks of ice to keep food cool in the icebox. She grew up with no TV or air conditioning and used kerosene lanterns for lighting. She was raised with none of the conveniences that we take for granted today," Faye said.
Faye shared that her mother was in the bad tornado in 1929 that destroyed the family home and caused the death of two teachers who were found in her father's field.
"The Red Cross came and put up tents so her family would have somewhere to sleep. The smokehouse, which was very important in those days, survived the tornado and was also used as a temporary shelter. She has had so many experiences during her lifetime," she added.
"When Mom turned 101, I asked her how it felt to be 101, and she told me to wait and ask her that question again when she was 102," said Faye, as an indication of her mother's sharp mind and ready retort to any question.
Blonnie Callaway is wheelchair bound today, and GHC Hospice visits her several times a week as do family members to assist her as needed. She, however, still lives by herself in her home.
Blonnie's parents were the late Rebecca and John Lanier of the Metter area. Mr. Lanier was a farmer.
Blonnie and her husband had five children: Bob, Faye, Earl, Peggy, and Roy, the latter who is deceased.
Faye Callaway Neely lives in Augusta; Peggy Callaway lives in Collins; Earl lives in Jesup; and Bob just a short distance down the road from his mother.
The 103-year-old Mrs. Callaway has ten grandchildren, eighteen great-grandchildren, and ten great-great-grandchildren.
"She is simply amazing, even at 103 years old, and so blessed to have such a sharp mind, and she has seldom ever been sick. Mom has never dwelled on any ailments and always looks on the bright side of life," Faye said.
About GHC Hospice
GHC Hospice was founded with the goal of improving the accessibility and quality of care available to those who live in rural areas across Georgia and South Carolina, which was seen as a need. In addition to providing excellent care, GHC Hospice celebrates special occasions and helps their patients and their families continue to make memories.
Susan Jaffie, Foundation Director for GHC Hospice, commented, “When we realized that Mrs. Callaway's birthday was June 16 and that she loved sweets and chocolate cake, we knew we had to celebrate that occasion with her."
Through the GHC nonprofit Foundation, an effort is made to celebrate all of life's precious moments and to treat hospice as a means of living and not dying. The Foundation gives back 100 percent of the proceeds raised through fundraisers and donations to their patients to fulfill last wishes, help improve their patients' quality of life, and to celebrate all things. To learn more about GHC, visit their website at www.ghchospice.com or call 888-615-1982.