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    HomeHERSTORYCelebrating Mrs. Willie Mae

    Celebrating Mrs. Willie Mae

    There was a time that living to 100-years-old and beyond used to be unheard of; not anymore. But now, more and more people are joining the so-called “Century Club.” According to the Census Bureau, there are more than 90,000 centenarians in the US alone.

    That’s nearly double the number from just two decades ago, when there were more like 50,000. And worldwide, the United Nations reports that there are nearly 600,000 people over 100, and it’s predicted to grow to some 3.6 million by the year 2050.

    I recently had the honor and pleasure of interviewing this delightful little lady by the name of Willie Mae Wallace. She sat in her chair with pretty blue dress with a gold hat. She is the grandmother of one my very close friends, Latonia Copeland. Mrs. Wallace was turning 100 years old.

    I believe that celebrating a 100th birthday is a remarkable milestone in anyone’s life. It is a time to reflect on all the memories and experiences that have shaped a person’s journey over the years.

    Born on March 21, 1924, Mrs. Willie Mae Norman was born in Union county, Arkansas to the parents of Henry and Lula Norman on a farm owned by her grandfather with over a hundred acre of land. She lived through some grand historical moments, from being brought into the Great Depression to growing up through multiple wars. Mrs. Wallace has survived many challenges in her life, including surviving a critical fire.

    “I’m glad to be alive, because some folk didn’t make it. My dad and mom died in their 40’s,” said Willie Mae.

    Mrs. Willie Mae grew up with twelve siblings. She never finished high school but went to the 7th grade. At the age of 16, she married to her first husband Moe Howard.
    She later married her second husband, Rev. Woodrow Wallace in 1947. He pastored a church in Hamburg, Arkansas until he died in 1980, at the age of 60, after having a heart attack. Mrs. Willie Mae gave birth to her first child at 17 years of age. She became the mother of six children, but has raised a total of 9 children.

    In 1985, she moved to Decatur, Georgia where she lives with her sons William and Woodrow. She is a devoted member of Salem Bible Church in Atlanta, GA. She serves as a Mother of Salem under the direction of Pastor Jasper Williams, Sr.

    Her legacy, a testament to her unwavering devotion to her faith in God.

    Mrs. Willie Mae loves poetry and during our interview, she recited a few of them for us. I asked her, what was it like growing up as a young girl in her days? She answered, “It was rough. We didn’t know back then where children come from. We thought they came from a hollow log.” “They didn’t tell us that they came out of our body,” she said as she laughed. I asked her to give some advice to young women today. She replied, that they should pray in season and out of season. She said “I would tell them to live right, so God can use them anytime and enter not into temptation, God will help them if they enter not into sin.”

    Mrs. Wallace has been a visiting member of the Dekalb Senior Citizens Center on Candler Road for more than 20 years and is well known in her community.

    She is loved by her sister, Arcie Norman, her 3 living children, 18 grandchildren and a host of a host of great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren.

    It was a privilege doing this interview. I can only pray that God shows me the favor He has shown Mrs. Willie Mae Wallace.

    Article written by C. Moss

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