Trinity Lutheran Church has a select group of members in our congregation, a group that has seen more than most and lived longer than most. They are our Centenarians, the members who are 100 years of age or older. What do they have to say about Trinity, church memories, and life in general? Quite a bit…! Six questions were asked of these older members of our congregation, and their answers were eye-opening and delightful. Here are some of their thoughts:

How long have you been a member of  Trinity Lutheran Church?

Idona: Since I moved to Mason City!
Pauline: 60-70 years…ever since Pastor Wigdahl was there!
Betty: Since 1945!

What is your earliest memory of church…no matter where you went?

Idona: I remember going to Sunday School with a penny wrapped in the corner of a hanky for my offering. I had 3 brothers so that meant 4 cents every week for offering. We always went to Sunday School and then church afterwards with my whole family. We never missed. Something drastic would have to happen to make us miss church!
Pauline: I remember Easter time and the different things we did in Sunday School. We performed things with our class and did many other activities. We always had a good teacher!

Betty: When I was young, I went to a country church near our home in Maxwell, Iowa. After I got married, I went to Trinity because it was my husband’s family’s church. I remember going to Circle and helping with funerals. I remember Pastor Harrisville and I remember Pastor Hanson and his “Come Before Winter” sermon.

What did you think the world would be like when you were a grown-up? Did your idea of what you’d be doing match with what you’ve done?

Idona:  I wanted to be a nurse but knew I couldn’t get nurse’s training. My father went to Waldorf and wanted me to go there, too. I took up normal training there and graduated in 1935. I then taught country school. It worked out okay!
Pauline:  I’m the oldest of 11 children, so it was pretty hard to think of anything to do. Everybody was so poor, it was hard to visualize. (There are only 3 of us left. I’m 103 and I have two sisters who are still living. They are 90 and 92.)

Betty: I was an only child and my parents were farmers. I didn’t think a lot about the future; when you’re a kid, you don’t…  I always was meant to be a homemaker and mother. The main thing in my life has been being a mother. I had 3 children: Linda, Andrew, and Becky.

How has the world changed over the years?

Idona:  The biggest change was the closing of the country schools. I went to a town school when I was young, but when I was a teacher, I taught at a country school. We had to have a boy go to a farm place to get a bucket of water to last us a day. We had two separate outhouses, one for boys and one for girls, and we didn’t even have toilet paper. I think we used magazines! What a big improvement to all go to town schools where there were electric lights and good heat!

Pauline:  Oh, the world has changed drastically! It has changed so much! I think it’s changed for the worse. Every day, something is going wrong and we just don’t know where it’s going to end!

Betty:  We never heard about all this phone stuff where you can take pictures, etc.! You can do everything now. It’s so electrical now! The world seems so much smaller now with TV. It’s so much easier to get information. We used to get a newspaper every day, but it didn’t seem like we heard about all the stuff that goes on now!

What advice do you have for living to (or past) 100?

Idona:  Pretty simple things…I tried it all! Just accept whatever you have; everyone is in the same boat. I always had a good appetite. I was a farmer’s daughter and married a farmer and ate good meat and good food! I was lucky enough to have a mom who baked bread and made lefse. The Good Lord has just kept me healthy…I don’t know why!

Pauline:   I worked hard all my life. It’s been a good life! I tried to eat the right things. Since being on the farm, I ate a lot of vegetables. I’m not too fussy! Also, keep active!

Betty:  I never smoked or was a drinker. I just lived a home life, kept house, cooked, and took care of my family. I just did ordinary things.

What is one thing you’d like people at Trinity to know about you…or remember about you?

Idona:  I’ve enjoyed life…and I still do! I’m happy to be alive! I’ve had plenty to eat and wear. I’ve had a good easy life, compared to what some people have. I take one day at a time.

Pauline:  I worked in the church office and I’ve worked in the Circles and helped with lutefisk. I’ve participated in everything [Trinity] had until I was unable to do things. I miss things (like the dinners). You try, but you just can’t do things [anymore].

Betty:  I was an active member and took part in activities when I was able. I was active in quilting. There are a lot of things going on at Trinity that I’d like to do, but I’m not able to do them now. I listen [to the service] on Sunday mornings on the radio. I’d like to be remembered as a good person, a good mother, and a good citizen.

Thanks to Trinity’s Centenarians for telling us a little about themselves… and how the world has changed over the years. We wish our Centenarians continued health and well-being.†