JACKSON CENTER — Virginia Wildermuth credits good genes with living a long life.
“I don’t feel like I’m that old,” Wildermuth said. “It’s in your body. If your ancestors lived long, you have a good chance of living too. My mother and my grandmother both lived long lives. My mom lived to be 92.”
Wildermuth, who lives independently and does everything around the home herself, will turn 100 years old on Monday, Dec. 13. She said that earlier this autumn, she was outside raking her leaves in the evening, when two young boys came up the street with rakes.
“One of them said, ‘my mom told me to come over here and help you’,” she said. “I still do all my own work, I just don’t feel old.”
Wildermuth was born in Jackson Center on Dec. 13, 1921, and grew up living and working on the family farm.
“We lived on a farm, so I did everything. We had to milk cows, we had chickens, pigs, the whole works,” Wildermuth said. “You used to farm with horses and mules, and you had cows to milk. You were busy.”
She and her late husband, Lowell Wildermuth, married when she was 16 years old at the Justice of Peace in Sidney. She recalls that it cost them $2 in 1937 to get married, which is the equivalent of $38.42 today.
“Two dollars was hard to come by at that time. It was the middle of the depression, and there were a lot of times we didn’t know where our next meal would come from,” Wildermuth said. “I can’t describe the feeling.”
In her first year of marriage, she kept a garden and recalls keeping potatoes in her bedroom because they didn’t have a cellar, and the bedroom was cooler compared to the rest of the house. She also remembers getting a Model A Ford when she was first married.
“We would get a milk cheque once every two weeks, and we would stock up on groceries and gas for the car. If you ran out of gas and you had kerosene, you’d put kerosene in the car, and you’d just go smoking down the road,” Wildermuth said.
The greatest modern convenience, in her opinion, has been having a toilet inside the house.
“Not very many people (back then) had an inside toilet. If you lived in town, you did, but if you lived in the country, you didn’t. If you had to go in the middle of the night, you hurried. You didn’t mess around,” Wildermuth said.
Wildermuth has six children: Pat Kreglow, of Wapakoneta; Gary and Sandy Wildermuth, of Wapakoneta; Phyllis and Gary Elliott, of Columbus; Karen and the late Glenn Fogt, of Maplewood; Mike and the late Amy Wildermuth, of Maplewood; and the late Wayne Wildermuth. She has 12 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren. One granddaughter, Jackie Thuman, is deceased.
In celebration of her 100th birthday, Wildermuth’s family will be holding an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Family Life Center, 310 Davis St., Jackson Center. The family asks that gifts be omitted, but cards are appreciated. Those wishing to send cards can mail them to 413 S. Main St., Jackson Center, OH 45334.
“I hope I get a lot of cards. For my 90th birthday, I got over 90 cards. I’m hoping to get over 100 this year,” Wildermuth said.
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