NEW BREMEN — Ruth Moeller, of New Bremen, celebrated her 100th birthday with residents at Elmwood Assisted Living in New Bremen in February. She was born Feb. 4, 1920 in Continental.
“There’s nothing to it,” Moeller said when asked what it felt like to turn 100 years old. “You just enjoy it.”
Moeller served as an Army Nurse working in surgery in World War II in the Phillipines. Previously, she had worked at Lima Memorial Hospital and remembers when the attack on Pearl Harbor was announced.
“I was standing at the nurse’s desk at Lima Memorial when they announced it,” Moeller said. “It made you feel sick.”
She spent 30 days on a ship that transported a total of 900 nurses to the Phillipines, and would often times look over the stern of the ship to see “flying fish” and tortises in the water. She still remembers the people she worked with.
“I liked the service,” Moeller said. “They were just very congenial.”
After the war, Moeller met her husband, John Thomas, through his sister and cousin at a dance hall in Eagles Park in Minster.
“They don’t have anything to do nowadays, they just sit around. We were out dancing,” Moeller said. “People don’t go dancing like we used to.”
Moeller was also fond of ice skating on ponds and and would go rollerskating twice a week. Her favorite musicians are Doris Day and Brenda Lee, and she’s fond of Elvis Presley. A hobby that she has always had and still keeps up with is shopping; her favorite thing to shop for is jewelry, and she’s always taken her son with her. He still takes her out shopping regularly and tries to get her out and about as much as possible.
“I have eye problems, I have double vision so I don’t see very well, so he drives me around,” Moeller said.
She would take train trips out to Seattle to visit her brother Robert every other year with her son from when he was a young boy; she remembers the trips being peaceful, and staying on her brother’s houseboat. They were in Seattle for The World’s Fair in 1962.
“Elvis Presley was there, he was shooting a movie,” Moeller said. “We saw a lot of things, and you could hop on a bicycle and they would take you from one end of the fair to the other.”
Moeller has also always been an animal lover, having had three Weimaraner dogs in her lifetime. While dogs are her favorite, she is especially fond of birds and used to keep chickens as pets.
“We had a chicken coop in town, and I had chickens,” Moeller said. “They’re very friendly.”
She distinctly remembers watching the moon landing on television, and at the time didn’t think she would see a man land on the moon in her lifetime.
“It was thrilling,” Moeller said. “I didn’t think it was possible, but they did it. I liked what he said: ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’.”
Moeller said that she always wanted to be a nurse; she still remembers all her classmates from when she studied nursing. One is still alive and they talk every night on the phone. She worked as a nurse for over 40 years before retiring.
Little kids are probably worse than the others to take care of, because they’re so vulnerable,” Moeller said. “You don’t get excited or anything. It wasn’t stressful; if you liked it, you liked it.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.