July 15, 2009
Paul Wiese did not have to walk a mile to school uphill both ways. He took a horse and buggy.
Cellular phones, televisions and iPods were not even thought of yet while he was growing up. Instead, children played baseball, participated in “running games” or threw a ball over the top of the schoolhouse house for fun.
Wiese, of Sedalia, celebrated his 100th birthday Wednesday with about 40 vacation Bible school children from Flat Creek Baptist Church.
Children sang “Happy Birthday” and “Jesus Loves Me,” and presented him with 100 birthday cards.
“The more you sing the longer you live,” one of the cards read.
Wiese was born in Perham, Minn., and is one of 10 children born to Albert and Louise Wiese. He had six brothers and three sisters.
Wiese finished high school in 1928, a feat that only he and one other sister completed.
He lived through World Wars I and II and the Great Depression. Eggs were 7 cents for a dozen and meat was about 9 cents per pound.
“All we did was find some work or make something to eat,” Wiese said. “It was a real Depression.”
He was lucky during the Depression. His father had 360 acres of land with cattle, pigs and chickens.
“It was really easier to live at that time than it is now,” Wiese said. People worked hard and life was slower, nothing was rushed, he said. Over the years he worked as a farmer and truck driver and at a hospital.
Although Wiese is blind in his right eye and can barely see out of his left, he is still mobile and he has his memories.
When he was almost 2 years old, he remembers a day in May when his brothers were in school and his father was planting. His mother was in charge of plowing the fields and abruptly stopped at 4 p.m. About four hours later, Wiese learned that his mother had given birth to his baby sister in their home.
Wiese’s family and a few friends joined him Wednesday to celebrate.
Laura Stevens, of Charlotte, N.C., said her father has been really tough over the years.
“The only bad thing is that our mother isn’t here. That would make it better,” Stevens said.
Arlys Ruth Gilson, of Wright City, sat next to her dad after the children left.
“I love daddy’s humor. I think he must laugh or smile every day,” Gilson said.
Twice a week, he plays cards at the Senior Center and he attends church services once a month.
“I was always active and I always worked hard my whole life,” he said.
He has four children, eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
“I’m hanging in there,” Wiese said.