Alice Fortune turns 100

Still offering encouragement after all these years
Jun. 23, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Sitting inside her small den/dining room area of her white frame house, Alice Fortune, 100, cheerfully greets her visitor. Attired in a pink and blue pastel striped housecoat, she talked about her recent birthday party and the life she's lived.

Friends and family attended the birthday party at First Baptist Church in Bostic and Fortune said she had a great time and received so many well wishes, cards and flowers. 

Fortune refers to her Bostic home of 69 years as "her cottage" and last week she lovingly shared memories of being there with her husband, Wade Fortune, and raising a daughter and son together.

Born in Spartanburg County on June 9, 1913 to Henry Greene and Alice Donahue Greene, Fortune grew up with four brothers and two sisters.

The family moved to Forest City when she was 11 years old and she went to Forest City elementary school. She was only 14 years old when she had to quit school and began working in a hosiery plant in Cleveland County. She worked in the hosiery plants until her children were born and then became a stay-at-home mother. 

She was married at age 21 and she and her husband had a son, Kenneth, who lives in Taylorsville, and a daughter, Audry, who moved to California with her husband and later settled in Atlanta, Ga. before her untimely death. 

Mr. Fortune passed away at age 82 after a 40-year illness.

Her daughter fought a battle with breast cancer and passed away several years ago.

"She was so devoted to us," Fortune said, recalling the last days she spent with her daughter.

Those are the darkest days of her life.

But Mrs. Fortune doesn't dwell on the dark days.

Beside her chair on a small table are several boxes of greeting cards, notes and reading materials.

She reads her Bible every day and sends greetings cards to members of her Sunday School class from the First Baptist Church in Bostic. 

She doesn't go to church services anymore because it is sometimes difficult to walk around, but she is still a member of her class and keeps up with her friends there. She uses her prayer list to offer prayers for those in need.

She talked about the changes that have occurred in the past century and she doesn't think they are all good. She thinks morals have changed.

Among her favorite inventions during her lifetime has been the washing machine and the electric cook stove.

She remembers the day her mother "batted" the clothes in a black wash pot with a stick.

Mrs. Fortune also had to wash clothes in a pot, too, "but I never batted them."

"I like to cook and I like to eat so I liked the stove."

She makes her own breakfast every day which consists of "eggs and fresh garlic, turkey bacon and toast and sometimes oatmeal with raisins. I do not eat pork," she said.

She eats a lot of garlic and onions with many of her dishes. She loves pinto beans and recalls the days of the Depression years when the scent of pintos cooking was an every day occurrence.

She always cooks for herself and occasionally makes dishes for neighbors.Recently she made cooked cabbage, candied carrots and cream potatoes. 

"I didn't have the brown sugar so I substituted white sugar. I hope it works," she said of the carrot dish. 

She drinks milk and water. Coffee and tea aggravate her ulcers so she stays away from them.

Mrs. Fortune watches Jeopardy, The Price Is Right and Wheel of Fortune on television. "Nothing else makes any sense," she said. She does not watch the news or weather.

"They hit it right sometimes, but most times they don't" she said of weather reports.

She does have not central heat or air conditioning in her home, although her son has installed window units.

"Air conditioning hurts my bones," Mrs. Fortune said.

She has never travel a lot, but of the place she's been, Chimney Rock is her favorite.

 "I enjoy seeing what God has made. It's just beautiful," she said.

Mrs. Fortune loves to read the Bible and her favorite verses are in John's Gospel and also the Beatitudes. Her favorite hymn is "The Old Rugged Cross" and she recalled the days her brother played the hymn and other songs on the mouth harp. 

The best advice anyone gave Mrs. Fortune came from her mother who told her "not to do like everybody else does."

That's the advice she gave her own children, she said.

Mrs. Fortune has never had a driver's license and counts on neighbors or friends to transport her if needed. Most of the time she stays at home where she is most comfortable with herself in her cottage.

She isn't sure why God has let her live to be 100 and be in such good health all these years. 

She said she does know she'll keep working for the Lord, sending greeting cards, praying for others and trying to be kind and considerate,"like the Bible says."

Mrs. Fortune said she'll try to encourage those around her as they walk through the screen doors into her little cottage.