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Resident celebrates 100 years
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Viola Godfrey

A Dawson County resident celebrated a milestone birthday this week.

Viola Godfrey turned 100 on Monday.

Godfrey moved to Dawson County 16 years ago to live with her daughter and son-in-law Loretta and Kenneth Allison.

Born in Suches, Godfrey grew up and lived for many years in Murphy, N.C. She worked for several years as a housekeeper for nearby people.

She made a dollar a week, Loretta Allison said.

That was a big payday for me, Godfrey said.

Godfrey said she and her family never wanted for anything because they lived off their land.

We ate what we raised in the garden, Godfrey said. She said her family used to eat everything from beans and potatoes to pickled beans and corn. They even ate some non-traditional dishes such as vinegar pie and squirrel dumplings.

But one of her biggest passions was quilting. Godfrey made quilts for her entire family, in addition to custom orders. Her stitches, all done by hand, look as if they were made on a machine. I enjoyed doing things like that. You get used to doing something like that and you keep at it, Godfrey said of her craft.

Granddaughter Kathy Hardin recalls growing up near her grandmother. When we lived in North Carolina, we lived a half mile or so back in the woods behind my grandmother I caught the bus on the highway at her house and she tells me that I would stop by there every morning and get a nickel for an ice cream to eat at school every day.

Godfrey said she enjoyed giving her granddaughter a nickel every day. She wouldnt ask her mother, she would come to me to give her stuff. And I did give it to her, she said.

Godfrey also recalls a horse and wagon being her familys form of transportation. We went to church, a Baptist church, Godfrey said. We never missed a Sunday growing up. We went in a horse and wagon. That wagon would be plumb full of us going to church.

She never had an interest or need in learning to drive a car. She said if she needed a ride to town she would hire a neighbor to drive her.

Up until her 90s Godfrey also enjoyed camping and traveling. She had her first trip to the ocean when she was 90. I was excited to get to go, she said.

And although she was born before the first airplane took flight, Godfrey said she will probably never fly in one she hasnt so far, anyway.

Godfrey was the oldest of nine children and has outlived all her siblings.

Sunday, Godfrey celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by her four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

And what does a 100-year-old woman want for her birthday? I just want everybody to be good and healthy and enjoy themselves.