February 21, 1920 was a cold winter day in Gore, Georgia when a baby girl named Annie, was born into a family of Chattooga County farmers. She still lives on the family farm that she has lived on for all but a few months of her life. In fact, Annie has lived within a six-mile radius of her current residence for her entire life.
Her mother inherited $300 in 1938, which she used as a down payment on the farm home and the original 140-acre farm.
Annie did a little of everything on the farm growing up from planting cotton, to picking and chopping cotton, to tending to the garden. As the only girl of four boys in the family, Annie shared a large burden of the responsibility in the house as well as the fields. “I’ve been getting up and cooking breakfast since as 12 years old, I got up every morning at 4 o’clock,” says McCary. Breakfast was a time when everyone, young and old came together to start the day. The family table that Annie and her parents and four brothers gathered around, still sits in her home, and is the gathering spot for Sunday dinner after church.
And the family table was the spot for her 101st birthday lunch.
Annie is the widow of Marvin McCary, whom she married in 1940. Her only son, Dennis, was born when she was nearly 29 years old, in 1948.
Ms. McCary remembers a time that most have forgotten, or never experienced. A time when travel was done with a team of mules. a trip to Tifton took one week, the family also in addition to mules had a Model-T Ford to get around in.
She remembers details such as her family’s distinct ring for the community phone, the water dipper that everyone at the school shared and she remembers getting electricity in 1937, remarking that it was one of the biggest changes in her life.
At 101 her memory is crisp and clear, although her vision left her many years ago. She recalls every year, every crop that was planted, the years that were good and the times that weren’t. She remembers the boll weevils, and the Depression when the family had to start to over. “It was rough, but we made it.” And they have. Shallow Creek Farm today is a flourishing family farm, on much of the original acreage, plus additional land purchased and rented over five generations.
Like each of us, she has her good days and bad. At age 101 her days consist of sitting and talking on the phone with friends and relatives every day and listen to her tv shows and the local news.
Happy 101st Birthday, Annie Morrel Hendrix McCary!