Celebrating his grandmother Bessie Hendricks’ 115th birthday in November, Ed Schaffer found everyone enjoying his birthday cake but hers. Modern medicine believes that too much sweet can cause health problems, but Schaffer recalled her grandmother’s philosophy on how to live longer.
“She always told me to stay away from the doctor (work hard) and eat a lot of sweets,” he said.
So he approached one of the caregivers at Hendricks’ long-term care facility in Lake City and asked if he could slice his grandmother. He said when she arrived, she mixed it with her favorite sweet treat, ice cream, and brightened it up.
“When my mother gave her this glass full of cake and ice cream and gave her the last sip, my grandmother scratched it and made her like, ‘I want more! I want more! I want more!’ “It just makes me smile because it tells me there was still my grandmother somewhere.”
When Hendrix died on January 3, she was considered the oldest person in America and the fourth oldest person in the world. At her funeral on Saturday, the rest of her family, from Hendrix’s surviving three children (now in her 90s) to her great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren who still smoke binky Five generations of Lake have filled a small chapel in her city. It is decorated with twinkling lights and iridescent flowers.
The sheer size of the Hendricks family and the great influence the patriarch had on them was the focal point of their memories.
“To many, she was a superhuman being, but to her family she was a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a great-great-grandmother, even a great-great-great-grandmother. About six generations of photography. Think about it,” Schaefer said in tribute. “It’s a normal life for a woman to have the privilege of being called a grandma.”
Hard work, resilience, love of family and above all strength and optimism
Since Hendrix’s death, researchers have speculated about the secrets of the Calhoun County native’s longevity, from the resilience she built through harsh Iowa winters to her connection to the land working on the farm. rice field. Shaffer said many of these explanations are plausible, but the most powerful secret lies in her outlook on life, which is summed up in a simple yet formidable phrase.
Sheaffer says her philosophy of persevering with optimism and strength is ” [my] soul since childhood.
“Whatever the circumstances, she told me how she had a wonderful garden and how lucky she was to have fried chicken. She literally took it as part of my soul. .”
Shaffer loved his grandmother, loved his family, made “mean fried chicken”, enjoyed making crafts for others, and had a sweet tooth that could only be filled with delicious ice cream, cake, or cake. I remember her as a resilient woman. slice of pie.
Memoir dictated by daughter tells her story
At her funeral, the pastor read Hendrix’s memoirs aloud and dictated them to her daughter, Shirley, who died in the 1990s. to meeting the love of her life, husband-to-be Paul, at a Lawville dance…a young schoolteacher.
He asked her to marry him just a month later, but because, in the words of her memoirs, “in those days married women were not allowed to teach in rural schools,” she had to wait.
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According to her memoirs, she married in 1930 and eventually moved to Lands, renting a house for $45 a month, equivalent to her husband’s salary. Three years later, Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks moved to a farm of about 700 acres, where she raised five children. Schaefer said her dedication to her grandmother’s farm was not just a means of earning her living, but a true expression of her love of nature.
“She really lived her love of the land and her pride in farming. She always had a big garden and was never weedy,” he said.
Each year, Hendrix canned up to 800 quarts of vegetables and fruit from his garden and raised about 500 chickens. She passed this love through her generations.
“I have a passion for gardening,” Schaffer said in his eulogy.
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In addition to spending time in nature, Hendrix loved to sing, her grandson said. At her funeral on Saturday, the crowd joined in some of Hendrix’s best-loved hymns and songs, including her favorite, the Jimmy Davis classic “You Are My Sunshine.” bottom.
“That woman loved to sing, sing, sing without you asking,” Schaffer said Saturday.
Hendrix may no longer be with her family physically, but Shaffer said her legacy lives on through the generations she’s kept together and passed on her values. wants his grandmother to be remembered not only for her incredible age, but also for the impact she had on so many people around her.
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“I would like my grandmother to be remembered as a strong woman who was a role model of hard work, integrity and a gifted way of life.
Hendrix is survived by children Joan Shaffer, Glenda Hendricks, Leon Hendricks, 14 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, their children and grandchildren.
Francesca Block is a breaking news reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact her at FBlock@registermedia.com or on her Twitter.@francescablock3.