Willie Mae “Bill” Brafford Glosson will turn 100 years old on June 13 and will have plenty of help blowing out the 100 candles on her cake. On June 11, a lifetime full of friends and family will come together for a big birthday celebration at Dulin’s Grove Advent Christian Church, where she is the oldest member.
Glosson grew up on Blair Road in what is now Mint Hill. This past December, she moved to Clear Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, just a couple miles from where she spent her childhood, in the white house her daddy built when she was 8 years old.
Over the past 100 years, she’s seen everyday life transformed. As a child, Glosson carried wood for the wood stove in the kitchen, pumped buckets of water and carried them to the house, and did her homework by the light of an oil lamp.
As a special treat, she and her brother and three sisters would gather around the battery powered radio – if they could all agree on one program – and listen for an hour or so. Batteries were expensive, so her parents limited listening time to once a week.
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After graduating from Clear Creek Elementary School, Glosson enrolled in Bethel High School where she was the salutatorian of her class in 11th grade; grade 12 didn’t yet exist. She was also a talented orator. A speech she wrote and presented her last year in high school won her second place in an oratory contest. She remembers using the $15 prize money to buy a white graduation dress and shoes, with enough left over to buy a blue dress as well.
After graduation, she began her career at the S&W Cafeteria in downtown Charlotte where she waited tables and worked in the kitchen.
“I was thrilled to death to get that job. I was very lucky,” said Glosson.
In 1938 she married a high school classmate, Edd Glosson, and that marriage lasted until his death in 1992. She took care of him the last eight years of his life as Alzheimer’s disease slowly progressed. During their 54 years together, they raised three children — a girl, Linda, and twin boys, Ted and Edd; grew and canned countless vegetables; dutifully voted in each election; and attended church each Sunday.
Daughter Linda Perault says it was a mixed marriage for a while, as her mother attended Arlington Baptist Church, her home church, and her dad attended Dulin’s Grove, where he was raised.
“Mother finally gave in and started going to Dulin’s Grove so we could go to church together as a family,” remembers Perault.
Once her children were in school, Glosson started work as a supervisor at the Kaiser-Roth hosiery mill in Concord. She worked there until retirement at age 65.
“I don’t know how she did it. She would go to work, come home at night and fix a meal, babysit for the grandchildren, and her house was always clean,” said Perault.
“She was always so active, and still is. She’d dust even when it didn’t need to be dusted.”
While Glosson has slowed down a bit since moving to Clear Creek in December, she still plays bingo, gets her hair and nails done once a week, enjoys large print word searches, and loves to visit with residents and staff alike.
She still dresses up each day, fixes her hair and puts on makeup.
“She always dresses up like she’s going somewhere even if she isn’t,” said Perault.
Though she may not get out as much as she used to, Glosson still enjoys shopping and, on a recent trip to Pineville, bought a replacement for her SAS shoes. Her current pair was 5 years old and she figured she needed to update her wardrobe.
As they were leaving the store, Perault says her mother’s last words to the clerk were “I’ll see you in five years!”
And, knowing Glosson, she probably will.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
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