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Leesburg woman to celebrate centennial birthday

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

LEESBURG, Ga. -- When Eloise Green first moved to Georgia from Ozark, Ala., the United States was still picking up the pieces from World War I and children were playing primarily with handmade toys.

Things have changed drastically.

Green is set to celebrate her 100th birthday Aug. 14. As she prepares to reach the milestone, she is taking some time to reflect on what life was like for her growing up and how she managed to make it this long.

Green was born at her family's home in southeastern Alabama and grew up with three brothers. Her family moved to Smithville in 1919.

She also holds the honor of being a 72-year member of Leesburg United Methodist Church, but before that she enjoyed many of the same things children do.

"It was a lot of fun growing up," Green said. "I always had boys to play with."

The first car Green rode in was a Model A Ford, a memory that is still fresh in her mind.

"It was great," she said. "We rode in a sand bed; we didn't have paved roads in the country then."

She was married in December of 1937 to the late John Robert Green, who grew up in a family with three sisters. The couple honeymooned in Columbus and settled in Leesburg.

After seven decades at her church, Green still remains an active volunteer. On Wednesdays, she arrives at the weekly supper early to put ice in the tea.

"She and her husband were faithful members," said Opal Cannon, a friend of Green's. "She is also instrumental in raising money for church missions. She has always been good about contributing."

While highlighting some of the changes that have occurred over the last several decades, Green addressed the concept of support from those living next door.

"You don't have neighbors like you used to," she said.

There have also been some positive developments, such as new technology.

"Television and radio didn't exist when I was born," Green said. "We didn't have a radio until we moved to Georgia."

Clothing is another thing that has definitely changed over time, she said.

"We have gone from kneehighs to slacks," Green said. "Pants were not worn by women when I was growing up."

Green graduated from high school while still living in Smithville, and she has been a widow since 1964. She has one daughter, Mary Green.

"Mary has always been a good child," she said. "She never showed off by pitching a fit."

The younger Green said that, overall, her mother has been a good parent.

"When I got into trouble, my mother warned me the first time. But when I did it again, I got punished," Mary Green said. "She didn't wait until daddy got home.

"I always had a loving mother. I always had a relationship with her where we could talk about anything."

In celebration of Green's big day, Leesburg United Methodist plans to hold a tea for her from 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. on her birthday.

"She will be queen for a day," Cannon said.

When asked what it was like to be turning 100, Green said age doesn't matter that much to her.

"I just bless the good Lord that I have made it this far," she said.

But Green was generous enough to give the public tips on how to obtain longevity.

"Eat right, drink right and work with the church," she recommended.

There are some things the Alabama native might do differently if she could.

"I would have liked to have taken a business course," Green said. "I always liked figuring with numbers."