Mildred Kromer celebrated her 100th birthday recently, surrounded by friends and family and members of her church.
Born on Jan. 18, 1911, in Indianland, Lehigh Township to Charles and Mae Deibert, Mildred was recognized at her church, St. Paul's UCC in Indianland, during the Jan. 16 service. Flowers there that day were presented by Cindy Deppe and Geraldine Christman in her honor.
The bulletins were presented for the same reason by Gloria Newhard, Shirley Eckhart and Donna Henninger.
The Rev. Martin Nuscher, pastor, congratulated Mildred and welcomed church members to a party following the service, arranged by the Women United for Christ.
"Imagine how long Mildred has heard these stories," he said. "We hope many others will reach that age. Come down and help celebrate her 100th."
So many church members attended, extra tables had to be set up, making it obvious that Kromer is a much loved member of the church.
State Rep. Julie Harhart came to offer her congratulations and present a citation from the House and a certificate of recognition from herself.
"It's nice to come out and meet everyone," said Harhart, and telling Mildred, "You look more like 90."
As Mildred accepted the citation, Harhart said, "On this joyous occasion I want to bring you best wishes for the future from myself and the House. You are forever in the archives in Harrisburg." She then asked Mildred what where her two most "memorable memories."
"I had a good husband for 55 years," said Mildred. "He passed away at 81. I traveled for a couple years. I went to work when I was 45 years old at Keystone Lamp Company, Slatington. I did farm work earlier."
Mildred was married to Dilwyn Kromer. They had one child, Harold, and were blessed with three grandchildren: Kevin, Wanda and Randy (deceased); and six great-grandchildren.
Her travels took her to Mackinac Island, Mich., Florida, and frequently to the Amish country and to all the local fairs.
Shirley Eckhart asked what her secret to a long life was. She said it was "working hard."
Pastor Nuscher said, "We're going to light up the cake and sing 'Happy Birthday.' We're glad we're here to share your moment."
After she was born, Mildred lived on a rented farm near Berlinsville. She was the next last of nine children with five sisters and three brothers.
She attended the Berlinsville School, but "I thought I knew too much and went to work," so she quit school.
Her favorite teacher was Elda Bachman, though she said she liked them all because she was able to get along with everybody.
She enjoyed farming, especially the animals. When working on other people's farms she picked potatoes and husked corn. She took the cows down a long lane to pasture. For that job she rode horseback.
One house where she worked had a special benefit. There was a player piano and she could play it while she worked.
Growing up, she helped her mother cook and bake and still made Christmas cookies this year.
As a child, Mildred went to a neighbor and did her laundry before going to school. She recalls using a wringer washer that operated manually.
While she moved the rod back and forth she would study and read books. Water was heated on the stove.
When she went to Keystone she worked on "conveyor 2," but if the boss needed someone on another line he would shift her. She said the other girls on 2 did not like that because they had to make up her work.
They gave her a party when she retired, and with the money they gave her, she bought a grandmother's clock.
Mildred said she voted until the last couple years, which reminded her she received a birthday greeting from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Six months ago she was talked into hiring someone to clean her house since she preferred to work outside where she has a lot of flowers to take care of.
She was confirmed at the Indianland church. When she got married she went on vacation and came home married. Her husband took her to his home.
Her son, Harold was born at home. An aunt, Hattie Deibert, came to help. He worked on the farm and played baseball. He also served as an umpire. Harold lives in Danielsville.
Mildred enjoyed going to movies, especially Becky's Drive-In.
Although she still drives, she said she doesn't go out at night any more.
"I used to drive pretty fast, but I knew when I could go fast," she said, proud of herself for never getting stopped.
After church, she enjoys meeting friends for lunch at McDonalds.
Her grandson's wife, Kelly, found she had never owned a doll and gave her one five years ago.
As for her health, Mildred said the doctor always sent her for tests, and the results were always good; so finally, she said she wasn't going to have more tests done.
She said she still goes to the doctor annually.
She said she lives alone and talks to herself, but doesn't get a decent answer.