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Cabool, Mo. woman celebrating 102nd birthday on Saturday

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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CABOOL, Mo. (KY3) - Edna Wood from Cabool, Missouri will be turning 102 years old on April 9, and she’s seen a lot of changes in the world since she was born.

On Saturday, April 9, Edna will continue to beat the odds as she will be honored with a come-and-go birthday reception at the Cabool Christian Church from 1-4 p.m.

Back in 1920, when Edna Wood came into this world, the average life expectancy of a woman was 54 years old.

“The first washing machine I used was gasoline powered,” she said as we took a walk through her house to note what has changed.

Her childhood certainly did not include a dishwasher.

“We carried water up from the spring, heated it on a wood stove, washed it in a dish pan and then had another pan with hot water to rinse it,” Edna recalled. “All by hand.”That spring of running water on the family’s land also served as her mom’s refrigerator.

“I remember her setting her milk and things in the spring,” Edna said. Instead of a modern stove there was a wood-burning version.

“Wood was all we had until we got electricity,” she said.And Edna didn’t have electricity until she was in her 30′s.

“We were ready for it,” she said with a laugh while remembering the kerosene lamps she had used until then for lighting. So of all the modern conveniences which ones have meant the most to her?

“Indoor plumbing and the ability for a woman to have an easier life,” she replied.

Back when Edna was born, women had just been given the right to vote.

“I thought it was about time,” she said with a grin.The Spanish Flu had just subsided as well. Edna missed that pandemic but in surviving for a century she was around for the next big one known as COVID-19.

“I think people were more fortunate in those days because they listened to their doctors and now they listen to politicians,” she said.Edna was born in Huggins, Missouri and played volleyball and basketball at Houston high school.

Asked if she was any good?

“No,” she replied. “Too short.” But she did learn to play the guitar and sing. And at the age of nine she began sewing on her way to becoming an excellent embroider and seamstress.

“She can make anything from bridesmaid dresses to suits,” said her daughter Eva Marie Morse. After marrying her husband Alva in 1937 Edna has spent all of her life since then on farmland near Cabool raising four children including twins. What started with 80 acres has grown to 1,200 acres with lots of chickens, hogs and dairy cows along the way.

“I could drive a tractor and milk the entire herd myself,” she said. “It was hard work but we did the best with what we had.”

She also became a nurse’s aid at a Cabool nursing home which forced her to take up one modern convenience she’d avoided up until then in order to get from the farm into town.

“She was 55 to 57 years-old or so when she got her driver’s license,” Morse said. And she drove until age 90 when she switched over to the role of backseat driver.

“We were taking her to an appointment this morning and I was driving her car,” said Earl Wood, one of Edna’s twin sons. “I was driving about 30 miles-per-hour and she leans over, touches me and says, ‘We’ll never make it there unless you speed up.’”

Edna, who is also a doting mom to three cats, says she’d like to stick around “for as long as the good Lord wants me to” but is concerned about the state of the world today.

“I think it’s very selfish and mean,” she said. “But the world is full of good Christian people and they’ve just got to wake up to who they are and get to work.”

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