BARTON – Erma Hathaway is bright, talkative and sharp as a tack. Hathaway, a resident at Maple Lane Nursing Home, celebrated her 102nd birthday Thursday, Aug. 30.
Hathaway was born in Delaware County in New York State. As a little girl she worked hard. Hathaway, who grew up on a farm, learned to milk cows at an early age. Her family had 60 Jersey cows.
“I ran the milking machine,” said Hathaway. “That was my job principally.”
Hathaway mostly milked in the evening, but did the morning chores when her family needed her.
“It wasn’t my favorite job,” Hathaway said of milking. “I was told to do it and I knew I had to do it for my family, so it was done.”
Hathaway was the youngest of seven children.
Hathaway went to college to be an eighth grade teacher. For 25 years, she worked at different schools in New York and Pennsylvania.
“Basically I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I had a wonderful group of children. They had to be with me or they’d get their head snapped off. I was very strict. There was no playing tiddlywinks in my classroom and they knew it.”
Hathaway said her students learned from her and many went on to be successful adults.
Hathaway, whose maiden name is Bull, met her husband Orville Hathaway who worked on the family's farm and attended her school. The couple had two children, Jane and David.
Eating good food and having good genes is Hathaway’s secret to living a long life. She also stayed away from smoking, drinking and wild parties, she said.
Hathaway, who moved to Vermont 10 years ago, spent her last working years doing clerical work for an accountant, which she liked better than teaching.
Hathaway would like people to know she cares about others and took care of herself.
“I’m fairly healthy, I think I’m very intelligent, I think I contributed a lot to the world,” she said. “I think I kept up my end of the bargain.”
Hathaway feels too many adults are too interested in making money and not interested enough in raising their children.
Hathaway’s hobbies are playing bingo and listening to music.