November 24, 2005

Grace Rudy To Celebrate 100th Birthday

A special birthday celebration is being planned for Grace Rudy’s 100th birthday by her family on Sunday, December 4, at the Scotland County Care Center in Memphis, where she resides. It will be held in the west dining room from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Everyone is invited to attend and celebrate with Grace. No gifts please, just your presence, but cards will be appreciated. Her address is R.R. 1 Box 52, Sigler Street, Memphis, MO 63555.

Grace June was born to Opha E. and Mary Frances (Aylward) Cunningham on December 2, 1905 in rural Scotland County, MO. She had two sisters, Shirley Boise and Genola Billups, both deceased.

She was married to Parley Bennett Rudy on June 3, 1930. Two children were born, Marilyn June, stillborn in 1935, and Nelda Joyce Rudy (Ebling) Billups in 1939. Parley passed away on December 22, 1965. Grace remained on the family farm for over 30 years.

Grace walked to Center Point one-room rural school through eighth grade, then rode with her sister, Genola, in the buggy pulled by a horse or rode a horse to Memphis High School. Sometimes she had to stay with an aunt in town. She graduated from high school in 1925, then attended and later graduated from Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, now Truman State in Kirksville, MO, in 1966. She had previously earned a Missouri Lifetime Teaching Certificate, which allowed her to teach before earning her degree.

She taught in several rural schools in Scotland County, Edinburg, Pleasant Hill, Center Point, Miller, Clay Point, Brock, Memphis Elementary North School and Blackhawk Elementary School in Kahoka, MO, where she retired in 1971.

She has seen so many changes in her 100 years and she still enjoys reminiscing about the Good Old Days. She has always been so good at keeping family history. When Grace was born in 1905, Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. There have been 17 presidents since then.

She remembers when the Graf Zeppelin, a dirigible, flew over the family farm, north of Memphis. It was a memorable event. Some people went to other towns to see it, but some missed it, because it seemed to change its route.

She has lived through World War I, 1914-1918, World War II, 1939-1945, Korean War, 1950-1953, Vietnam War, 1950-1975, The Persian Gulf War, 1990-1991 and now Operation Iraqi Freedom.

When Grace taught at her first school, Edinburg, in 1926, her salary was $85.00 a month.

In her rural area there was no electricity, no cars or tractors. Horse and buggies and wagons were used for transportation. Horses were used for farming. Later the Model T and Model A cars, other cars, trains and now jets and outer space vehicles are modes of transportation.

Since there was no electricity, kerosene lamps were used for lighting. There were no radios, TVs, computers, video games, and the many, many conveniences we have today.

Since there was no running water, all water had to be pumped and carried from a cistern or hard water well. There were no bathrooms at rural schools or at home, just an outdoor privy or privies.

Wood or coal-burning stoves were used for heating and cooking. In the cold winter weather, sometimes it would get so cold in the house, especially at night, that water would freeze in the water bucket. Kerosene stoves were used later, followed by electric and gas stoves.

They had to wash by hand or on the washboard before other machines, then later the electric ones. Ironing was done with sad irons heated on a wood, or coal range.

Baths were taken in a wash tub or some type of tub or sponge baths were taken, with water carried from a well.

In warm and hot weather, food was kept cool in a cave or cellar, along with other food items and canned foods. There were no refrigerators, sometimes ice boxes were used. Ice was often cut from frozen ponds and kept in icehouses. Grace’s parents kept milk, cream, butter and other foods cool by putting items in a bucket, lowering it into the well and raising it, when needed.

The roads were dirt and travel was difficult in bad weather. Often people had to wait until roads dried enough so a car could travel.

On the farm most of the food was raised for the family. Milk, cream and eggs would be sold so staples like flour, sugar, coffee and other needed items could be purchased. Ladies dried, canned and cured foods for the family. Chickens, cows, horses, sheep and hogs were important animals on the farm. Dogs and cats were pets.

Wearing apparel has changed so much during the years. A properly dressed lady wore a long dress, hat and gloves to town and many other places.

Among things Grace enjoyed doing were gardening, being a farm wife and loving mother, teaching, raising flowers, crocheting beautiful doilies and afghans, cooking, collecting frogs of all kinds, over 300, helping others, being involved with family activities, church and church activities caring for her two special white cats, Nippy and Tucky, her little black dog, Twisty, and raising peafowl for a few years. She dearly loved being with her many friends, and beloved family, as she still does.

Grace attributes her long and happy life to her parents’ good and wise teachings and values and their love and guidance. She stayed quite active as long as her health permitted. She belongs to the Memphis United Methodist Church and was active in the United Methodist Women and Martha Circle. She is a member of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association. She was a member of the local Retired Teachers Association, the Scotland County Historical Society, the Genealogical Society and Crossroads Boosters Extension Club.

Grace has touched many lives. She has tried to make the best of everything and has given abundant love, thus receiving love in return. She was always a hard worker.

Most important was her strong belief in God as her Lord and Savior from a young child and throughout the rest of the years. Her faith has sustained her and she and her family have been blessed with her long life. We are truly very thankful to God.

Submitted by Nelda Billups

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