Irene Pope celebrates 98th birthdayPublished 11:26am Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Irene Pope enjoyed spending her 98th birthday with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren July 30.
Born three miles south of Danville, she has spent her entire life there. If asked how her life has changed in those 98 years, she would just sigh and tell how kids walked and rode horses to and from school (and later rode in a covered school wagon) on dirt roads that led to the one-room Penn schoolhouse just a couple of miles down the road.
She would tell about the spelling bees on Fridays and playing “Annie Over” at recess and then sharing water out of the “community” bucket.
Irene Dutton was born at home when doctors still made house calls. Their doctor, Dr. Jim Crow, was at one time the only doctor in Morgan County (his daughter, Essie Holladay, nearing 100 years, still lives at Danville, not far from Irene). Irene remembers when there was no penicillin for doctors to give their patients.
There was also no electricity. She remembers riding in a Model-T with curtained windows and no heater.
Irene remembers the sadness of the Great Depression and the horrors of World War II. Memories of the Great Depression affected how people lived their lives. She has often said, “You think twice about throwing things away-you might see the day that you need it.” Through it all people gained strength from those hard times, she believes.
Irene still lives in the home where she and her late husband, Bob, raised their five children. When asked what contributed to her 98 years, she admits there must be good genes since her parents lived that long. She says she always ate fresh garden vegetables (and absolutely very little junk food) and got exercise. However, being the religious person she is, she says mostly God has been kind- “Every day is a gift of God.”