ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — Florence Abraham has a cute chuckle and sweet spirit that shines forth when she talks about her family and the hard work which, after more than 100 years of life, has helped make her who she is today.
Abraham turned 105 on Oct. 2. It was on her special day that Abraham's family converged upon Edisto Post Acute in Orangeburg, where she is the oldest resident, for a big birthday celebration.
Born the first of 12 children in the Holly Hill area, Abraham has been a resident of Edisto Post Acute for approximately a month.
She said she feels great and loves to eat.
"I feel just as good as I was when I was 15," she said.
What does she like to eat?
"Just most anything, good things. Anything good," she said, laughing.
Lauren Varn-Myers, MT-BC, activities director at Edisto Post Acute, said Abraham, who still sports a good bit of fluffy white hair, is well taken care of.
"The CNAs take really good care of her. She has some good CNAs that help out every day and get her dressed and make sure she's always got on something pretty. She looked very nice for her party," Varn-Myers said.
Abraham enjoys playing Bingo and gets along great with her roommate, the activities director added.
The 105-year-old grew up on her family's more than 200-acre farm in the Holly Hill area. She said she worked on the farm most all of her life, but also worked as a cook.
"My grandfather bought over 200 acres before he died. He bought a couple of places. I work on the farm all my days. Just before I come here (the nursing home), I was working at a restaurant.
"I was still running that big farm, too, though. I love my farm. I farmed all my days and worked on jobs, too," she said.
Ruth Collier, 87, of Beaufort is Abraham's sister. Abraham, Collier and a brother, Nathaniel, 84, are the only living children of 12 born to the late James and Effie Harmon.
Collier said Abraham's party was beautiful.
"She looked at all of the other residents there at the nursing home. Everybody was so friendly and welcoming to enjoy the party with her. I thought it was a good idea to have. We had one when she was 100.
"She was at the assisted-living place then. We had a big barbecue patio dinner prepared for her there and no one could come because of a hurricane. We thought we could do it again indoors with just ice cream and cake," Collier said.
Collier said Abraham is affectionately known as "Miss Moon" for a special reason.
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"Everybody at home called her Miss Moon because when she was born, she was kind of sickly. And way back then, you know how people did. They held her up to the moon and asked God to please give her a healthy life. And from then on, they were calling her Miss Moon," Collier said.
Collier said their grandfather, Capers Hilliard, came from Africa.
"Grandpa Capers came from Africa on the ship and landed in America and met a little American Indian lady, Ms. Elisher Fogle, and married her. They had six girls and our mother was the third girl in the family and Ms. Moon was her first child," said Collier, who is glad to still have her sister around.
"I feel good and hope that I can live that long. She's quiet, but if you make her mad, she will let you know it. She was quiet, but she was bossy, too.
"She was a good big sister, and she was raised up in the Holly Hill and Santee communities. She never left home. She got married, and she and her husband, Samuel, stayed right in the house with our mother," Collier said.
Abraham said, "I tend to my grandmother and my mother and my father. I tend to them. I tended to all of them."
She thanks God for having let her live a long life.
"Yeah! The Lord done that. I'm way up in age," said Abraham, who was known for baking good pies.
Collier said, "Her whole career was farm life, living on the farm until my mother stopped farming. And then she did a short work in the motels in Santee. She was a cook. She loved to cook and her thing was making pies.
"She liked making pies: lemon pies and coconut pies and potato pies. And also being raised up on the farm, she liked to do canning, canning vegetables and stuff. She was a good canner. Whatever that was on the farm, she would put some in the jars for the winter months."
Collier said while Friendship AME Church in Santee was started by her grandfather, her mother and grandmother were members of Providence Baptist Church, the church Florence grew up in.
"My mother was the head leader on the choir there, and her daddy was a sub preacher there. He helped out the preacher what preach there. I was on the choir, too," said Abraham, noting her family enjoyed singing just about anything.
"We were good songsters, all of my family. And my mother was the leader. She was singing before she got married," Abraham said.
The 105-year-old has believed in the value of hard work her whole life. Doing whatever she can to help others still lingers on her mind.
How does she plan to live out the rest of her days?
"I want to do any work I can do," she said.
Information from: The Times & Democrat, http://www.timesanddemocrat.com