Photos: Wilma Seyse of Blacksburg celebrates 100th birthday
Wilma Seyse celebrated her 100th birthday on July 18. Wilma lives at Heritage Hall Nursing Home in Blacksburg.
Heritage Hall held a 100th birthday party for her, attended by her family and other nursing home residents. Her great-grandsons Christopher Stoll, 11, and Nicholas Stoll, 9, of Blacksburg performed a short magic show and made balloon swords for everyone.
Helping celebrate her birthday this week were her daughter Sherill and son-in-law Doug Nixon of Kenmore, N.Y.; her son Bob Seyse of Denver, Colo.; three grandchildren and their spouses; six great-grandchildren; her sister Mary Murphy and her husband, Bernard; and her nephew Vincent “Buddy” Murphy and wife Donna of Hedgesville, W.Va.
Murphy, who is 95 (“and 1/2!”) came down from Hedgesville, W.Va. for Wilma’s birthday. Together, they remembered growing up in Maysville, W.Va., as coal miner’s daughters.
“We were very poor people,” Wilma says. “Coal miners didn’t make much money.” They lived in a four-bedroom house owned by the coal mining company.
There was no running water, no bathrooms and no electricity. Water was retrieved from an outside hand pump behind the house. Saturday was bath night — water was carried into the house, heated on the stove and poured into a big galvanized tub on the floor.
“Newspaper were placed on the floor all around to try and keep the floor dry,” Wilma recalls.
Wilma and Mary remembered on the Fourth of July their dad would buy a watermelon, which was a big treat. One of their favorite pastimes was cutting paper dolls and clothing from books and dressing the dolls up.
And Wilma liked to visit her grandmother’s farm. She would help make hay using horses.
“I could ride a horse back then!” she says.
Her job was to gather a big pile of hay, tie a rope tightly around it and drag it to the barn. Her grandparents would take her to the town of Petersburg, W.Va., and she remembers they once bought her a pretty hat with cherry decorations on top.
She says she doesn’t think she has any secrets about how to live to be 100.
“It amazes me to be 100,” she says. “I never really thought about it. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by my family. Family is the most important thing there is.”
– Submitted by Karen Stoll
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