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Huguley Volunteers Visit Bessie Reed, Age 106

Gwen Purselley of Burleson, Willa Pendergras of Edgecliff Village, and Barbara Carroll of Burleson visiting with Miss Bessie Reed

Miss Bessie Reed

Huguley volunteers Gwen Purselley of Burleson, Willa Pendergras of Edgecliff Village, and Barbara Carroll of Burleson had the pleasure of visiting with Bessie Reed, a 106-year-old woman hospitalized at Huguley Memorial Medical Center earlier this month. 

Miss Bessie, as she is called, has kept all the wit and wisdom she’s accumulated over 106 years.  She lives in a group home in Fort Worth, where she still dresses herself (“It takes a little longer, but I’ve got time”), cleans her own room, bathes herself, reads the Bible and walks with the assistance of a walker.  She says, “I didn’t need the walker until I fell and broke my hip when I was 101.”

Huguley nurses, aides and volunteers enjoyed talking with Miss Bessie.  “Having Miss Bessie here was an honor and a privilege.  Her pleasant nature and delightful stories made caring for her a treat.  Sometimes she made us a little nervous when we’d go in her room and she would be up walking by herself,” said Tonua Rubell, R.N., Huguley PCU Care Manager.

Although Miss Bessie’s schooling ended after the sixth grade, she is well-educated from a lifetime of serving others, working hard and studying the Bible.  A sampling of Miss Bessie’s wisdom:

On her childhood:  I grew up on a farm in Gonzales County.  When I was 9, they sent me to another farm during cotton-picking season.  I’d stay six nights and then go home on Saturday with the 75¢ I’d earned for the week.

On her secret to health:  I’ve always eaten lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  The place I’m living now just serves canned vegetables.  I pray every day that these canned vegetables won’t kill me.

On hard work:  I’ve worked hard all my life.  I was the oldest child growing up on the farm, so I had the most responsibility.  Later, I worked as a cook, a housekeeper, a seamstress, and a grocer.  Sometimes I held two full-time jobs.  I worked until I was 83, then I retired.  Looking back, I’m not sure why I retired.

On getting older:  I sewed the dress I wore to my 98th birthday party.  Since then, arthritis has kicked in and I can’t hold a needle.  I tell you, when I started to deteriorate, I went fast.

On her philosophy of life:  Don’t complain.  Jesus had to carry His cross, so I just keep my mouth shut and take what comes. 

“It was an honor to meet Miss Bessie.  She looks so good and is so full of life, the other volunteers and I were amazed that she’ll be 107 in December,” said Mrs. Carroll.