Hattie Anderson, who was born on Nov. 12, 1912, now lives at Fayette County Hospital Long Term Care.
She recovered from her initial surprise to greet many friends and relatives at a surprise birthday party given for her by friends last Sunday in the LTC dining room.
Looking pretty as a picture, dressed in her favorite shades of purple, with a “Happy Birthday” tiara atop her snowy-white hair, she posed for pictures at a table decorated in purple and yellow, while holding a large birthday cake with purple lettering.
The amazing Mrs. Hattie Rogier Anderson may have been surprised when she entered the room to find so many friends and relatives, but then she knew exactly what was going on … her 100th birthday party.
She is still blessed with a very sharp mind and amazing memory, as well as being a very pleasant and interesting lady. Her pleasant and cozy room holds photos of her late husband and also of a very special “boyfriend” she enjoyed friendship with later in life.
There was also a jigsaw puzzle in progress on a table, and a few stuffed animals on her bed, which was covered with a pretty quilt given to her by a friend, Carol Morrison.
She was born in a rural home in Madison County, near Highland, the daughter of Emil and Constance Rogier. She was 7 years old when her family came to Fayette County and she started school in Hagarstown. Her family moved to Vandalia when she started high school.
A Little Work History
Hattie’s memory of her work history is clear. “I graduated from Vandalia High School, and both my brothers did, too. I got married in 1934, when I was about 21,” she continued.
In 100 years, she said, laughingly, “I can’t say I’ve accomplished very much. I went to work when I was 16. My mother had said, ‘Now, you have to get a job.’
“I’ve worked in an insurance office all my life,” she said. “I worked for the same one all the time, but their name changed everytime, like they do now.
The first one, Fred Hooker, was my boss, then he was transferred down to Belleville and Don McKeller was my boss; he and Todd (Don’s son) were both owners. Then, when Don died, Todd was my boss. They were the greatest bosses you could have,” she said.
When asked about hobbies, Hattie said, “I like to play the piano. I used to like to trim. I sewed, but very little. And I like to work puzzles.” The jigsaw puzzle she is working on contains only spools of varied colors of thread.
Hattie has also always loved to read, something she still does.
She said that she hated to give up her home, “But sometimes you have to have help and that is difficult at times at my age. I gave up driving when I was 97,” she said. “That was the worst part.”
“I had a brother, Clarence, who was raised in Hagarstown, too,” she said, “ I had an older brother, Harry Rogier, and he was president of First National Bank (of Vandalia). “There were five years between Clarence and me,” she said. “And Harry was seven years older than I am.”
Church and Friends
Hattie is a member of First Christian Church. “Bud Morrison has picked me up and taken me to church. He and Carol, his wife, have been so good to me since I have been in here. They are such a nice couple,” she said.
On life, in general, she said, “You know, you always have your ups and downs.
“When you don’t have any family left, it’s kind of sad. My husband, Wayne, died in 1982. We were married over 46 years. He was from Charleston. He was nice looking and he was a nice guy, too. The other picture is of my boyfriend, William Smail,” she said, laughing. “We went together for 10 years and he died years ago.”
She spoke highly of both men, saying she was fortunate in having two good, Christian men in her life.
Recalling Special Memories
Hattie recalled several special memories, including swimming in the Kaskaskia River with friends and when brother Harry took her to school in his car.
While Harry was still living at home, she recalled getting him to stay at home in the evening by bribing him with popcorn. “I would tell him, ‘You stay at home, I’ll pop some popcorn. I would pop corn and he would eat it as fast as I could pop it,” she said. She popped it in an iron skillet, shaking it over the fire in the kitchen coal stove.
“When we first started to high school, Harry rode a bicycle, and we lived out in the country on Route 40. It was about a mile to Hagarstown and then three miles to Vandalia,” she said.
“Then, when Harry was driving, I would ride with him to school. When he got married and moved to Vandalia, I had to find transportation.” She and a friend, Oma Chandler, found transportation to school with friends.
There have been so many changes and new inventions over the years that Hattie doesn’t know what ones have affected her life the most.
She is saddened by the loss of her family and friends, leaving only herself and no one else to share in her memories that are still clear in her mind.
However, she treasures and appreciates her friends of today, and they certainly appreciate her, as was witnessed by her 100th birthday party.