Martha Damm, of Medford, has reached the milestone of all milestones and celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family earlier this month.
A century ago, during the month of December The Star News had it’s pages filled with stories about America and its allies’ triumphant victory “Outwitting the Huns” during WWI that had ended one month earlier. Advertisements filled the pages enticing shoppers for the Christmas season, reminding everyone “Christmas is here and the War is Won.”
Readers were informed that “Christmas would be observed in nearly all of the churches in the city, but because of the Spanish Influenza the exercises planned will not be elaborate as usual.” The pandemic was so severe the Centers for Disease Control reported that from 1917 to 1918, life expectancy in the U.S fell by about 12 years, to 36.6 years for men and 42.2 years for women.
Being born into this was a little girl named Martha, right here in Taylor County. Eleven years later, the start of the Great Depression began. A hard life was just that, a hard life. Did this little girl notice a difference? Martha did not know the stock market crashed as she picked up eggs from the chickens on the family farm. The decision to eat or sell the extra commodities had always been something that she, her mother and brothers faced.
“I don’t know how we survived” and “it was a hard life” would come from her little voice several times as we visited in her room at Country Gardens talking about her recent birthday celebration of turning 100 years old.
See this week's issue of The Star News for the complete story.