Carrie Joines Hawkins celebrated a remarkable milestone on Thursday. The feisty Wilkes County native turned 100 years old.
Surrounded by a flock of family and friends at Chatham Nursing and Rehabilitation, Hawkins listened to tributes in her honor, occasionally offering a smile, and even took a nap during the celebration.
According to a CNA who works at Chatham Nursing and Rehabilitation, naps are totally permitted. “She earned the right to take a nap whenever she wishes,” said the employee.
“She was born July 10, 1914,” said daughter Bonnie Hawkins Sidden. “We have five generations here.”
Sidden, who is 76 years old herself, was asked if Hawkins had a secret to longevity.
“Longevity. I don’t really know. It seems that way, right? Her (Hawkins) father lived to be 89 years old. She had one sister who lived until she was 95 years. Her other sister who passed three years ago was six weeks from being 100 years old.”
Sidden said that Hawkins and her siblings were left motherless young. “Her mother died when she was only 10 years old. They lived a tough life. The daddy raised them, but he was out. The kids were mostly left alone because their father needed to work and get things done. Hawkins never complained about how things happened. She’s always looking for the positives,” she said.
Hawkins lived in Traphill her entire life.
Hawkins married Quentin Hawkins in 1937 and gave birth to four daughters. When her youngest daughter was 5 years old, Hawkins went to work in the lunch room as an aide and cook for Traphill Elementary School. The career would last for 23 years.
Hawkins retired in 1967. At that time, Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the United States.
After her husband passed away in 1990, Hawkins remained in their Wilkes County residence until 2007. She transitioned to the nursing home.
“She always said that she would never live with one of her children. She always felt that she didn’t want to burden them. She chose to come here herself… She had two heart attacks in 2007. Her doctor said she had three choices — go home to someone to stay with her for 24 hours a day, she could go to my house, or she could go to a rest home,” said Sidden.
Reflecting on when Hawkins was younger, Sidden said she was a good wife to her husband and someone that everyone loved. She shared with everyone. What impressed me the most was that she shared everything. She always believed in helping others in need. “We tried as kids. We’ll never be like Mama,” said Sidden.
Great-granddaughter Carrie Sockwell said it was nice to be able to do this celebration with Hawkins. Holding fifth generation and recent newborn Adalynn Sockwell in her arms, Sockwell said, “When I was younger we would stay at her house. She had blueberry trees.”
Diane Sidden, Bonnie’s daughter, lived next door to her grandmother. “I took her to go to the grocery store every week.”
“She was funny. I remember she would have a thing about looking at people’s feet. She would always have candies and things like that,” said Sockwell.
“She’s just a special lady. I’m just happy that I too can share this with her,” said Susan Taylor, a resident of the nursing home.
Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.