Today is a big day for Alice Goode Coggins; she turns 100

Feb. 09, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Alice Catherine Goode Coggins claimed her birthday was"the day before yesterday" and then broke out in a laugh she said her birth date is  Feb. 9, 1913. 

 Today the Mt. Vernon resident turns 100 years old.

Sitting on a sofa in her modest brick veneer home that sits across the road from the old home place where she was born near Mt. Vernon-Ruth School, Coggins talked about her longevity. She does not have a secret as to why she's still living, breathing and doing very well.

"But I do wonder how I got this old. I woke up one morning and I was an old woman. I've never given in a thought, though." 

"Everything's been all right. I don't have to worry," she said.  "What's the use? I've never worried about anyone or anything." 

A lack of stress could be the answer to becoming 100 today.

She'll have lunch with her niece and nephew, Chantal and Johnny McFadden, and siblings today. Later this afternoon, about 50 others are expected to celebrate with her at Mt. Vernon Clubhouse.

Coggins was one of 11 children born to Adam and Eva Mae Allen. She and four siblings are still living. "Yes, they were Adam and Eve," she laughed. 

The family grew up on a farm where they raised everything they ate and went to the grocery store only to buy staples such as  flour, cornmeal, sugar and coffee.

Coggins can look out her front window and see the place where she grew up.

Everyone had specific chores, including washing clothes in the creek. "We put them in a wheel barrow and rolled them to the creek and after they were all washed, me and my sister slapped water on each other. It was really a good time," she said.  

There was only one closet in the homeplace and each child had one set of clothes each and one set of Sunday clothes. 

She remembers going to the woods, and bringing pine wood back to burn in the four fireplaces in the house. She also remembers the day there was nearly a fire as the pine wood was really burning, she said. 

"Three children slept in one bed," she said. 

Coggins was the only female in the family to drive a car. "Daddy taught me when I was 14 years old," she said. "He parked the car on a hill one day and told me to get in and drive. I've been driving ever since."  She's still driving.

Chantal saw her Aunt Alice just the other day driving down the dirt road in her Buick visit another sister. 

About every two years Coggins buys herself a brand new Buick, Chantal said. Just a couple years ago after a car accident on Hudlow Road, she left the wrecked car on the side of the road and got a ride to the Buick dealership where she  bought another new car that day, Chantal said. It's under the carport and used for riding up and down the road to visit family.

She doesn't drive on main roads anymore, but she's always ready to go when someone comes by for her.

She enjoys eating in restaurants. Although a superb cook, Trammell said, she doesn't cook anymore. She remembers though the days of family dinners around the dining room table at the old home place  where as many as 50 people gathered.  

Her favorites foods are vegetables but does not eat green beans. She's already eaten enough to last a lifetime. "Besides, no one can cook them like I did."

Coggins said she joined Mt. Vernon Methodist Church when she was 9 years old. All the girls in the family went to the Methodist Church while the males went to Mt. Vernon Baptist.

Coggins was married when she was 18 years old and moved to Hednersonville. The marriage didn't work out but later she married  Albert Coggins, who worked for the NC DOT. They lived in Sylva and owned and operated a campground/trailer park.

The couple enjoyed dancing and took ballroom dance classes. They always watched Lawrence Welk, which was her favorite show.

The couple had planned to retire to Florida but Albert died and in 1976, she returned to Mt. Vernon to live in the house she built.

She didn't have children, but is still very close to nieces and nephews, who visit often.

"I've been here so long and I've heard so much, I can't remember everything," she said.

She does know it's her birthday and for lunch she asked Chantal, "cook something different."