Not getting older, getting better

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 6, 2003

BRADRICK -- Clara Crawford is a delicate little lady in a pale pink sweater, not the least bit fazed by the reporters and photographers who are showing up at her doorstep these days.

"She said to me the other day, why is everyone making such a fuss?" her daughter, Alma Crawford said. "I said 'it's because of your birthday.'"

After all, not everyone celebrates their 106th birthday. Clara Crawford was born April 1, 1897. Her lifetime has spanned not one, not two, but three centuries. And, when she feels like it, she still talks about the changes that she has seen along the way,

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"She talks about the horse and buggy days," Alma Crawford said.

After all, Clara Crawford was born some six years before the Ford Motor Company came into existence, 11 years before the Model T rolled off the assembly line.

Asked how she feels, now that she is 106 years old, Clara Crawford replied "Fine. I always feel fine."

"We had her at the doctor the first part of March and he said she's doing fine," Alma Crawford said. "She's a precious mother. I feel I'm blessed to have her with me."

The daughter of the late Miles and Mary Moore of Shaffertown, Clara Moore Crawford grew up in the Chesapeake area, married Herschel Crawford in 1917 and they raised five children together: Juanita Moore, Deloy Crawford, and Buddy Crawford, all of whom have passed away; Alma Crawford and Josephine Null of Proctorville. She has

five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren. Herschel Crawford passed away in 1963.

Clara Crawford worked for 35 years at the old Perry Norville Shoe Company across the river in Huntington, W.Va. When she first started working there, she rode a ferry back and forth: the bridges between eastern Lawrence County and Huntington were not even built yet. She retired in 1958.

These days, she likes to watch a little television.

"She loves basketball," grandson Lee Crawford said. "She loves Michael Jordan."

She also likes to go out to dinner and shopping.

"She loves to get out and go," Alma Crawford said. "I think that's what keeps her going."

She still attends Sybene Baptist Church when she can, and reads her Bible, although with some difficulty because of poor eyesight.

Her granddaughter, Brenda Cline comes regularly to do her silver white hair, and family members said she is never without the jewelry that she loves, earrings always in place and rings covering those small fingers.

"I just like jewelry," Clara Crawford said. "I really don't have a favorite."

Her family has not let this milestone pass without a little fanfare. On Monday, friends took her for dinner at Red Lobster, On Tuesday, her birthday, she got a cake. Today, her daughter-in-law, Cora Crawford is hosting a birthday party at the Grandview Inn in South Point.