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101 years old and still going strong

Augusta Schetrompf shares memories of a long life

Augusta Schetrompf shares memories of a long life

October 26, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

BUCK VALLEY, Pa. - Augusta Schetrompf probably would be the first to admit she has slowed down a little since she put together her stunning 50-state quilt about 10 years ago.

After all, she was only 91 then.

It might have been her last quilt, but it wasn't her first. She has been quilting for more years than she can remember.

On Sept. 26, Augusta turned 101. She welcomed friends and family to her home north of Hancock and enjoyed gifts, including several arrangements of fall flowers.

"Did you see my flowers when you came in?" the lifelong gardener asked. "Aren't they lovely?"

Sitting in a comfortable chair in the rural home she has occupied for more than 70 years, Augusta was encouraged to talk about her life as a young wife and mother and an early stint working in a Hancock orchard.

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"We wore a picking sack and dragged a ladder as we picked apples and some peaches," she said. "And then we came back to this house."

Augusta's husband and work partner was her late husband, Blair Schetrompf Sr., who died in 1980. Together, they hired out to orchards, then worked their farm and raised five children, four of whom still are alive.

"We grew up in this house," said Augusta's daughter, Moynelle Peck, who now lives in Hancock with her husband, Calvin.

Moynelle and her sister, Mildred Beddow and husband, Ronald, visit with Augusta often and make sure she is all right.

Only in the past two years has Augusta been hospitalized off and on. Lately, her health has been quite good, the daughters said.

After they were married, the Schetrompfs briefly lived in Hancock, then came back to Buck Valley to stay and work their own farm.

During those early years, Augusta cut corn, shocked wheat, tended the animals and performed many other farm chores on horseback.

"She worked out in the fields like a man," said her son-in-law, Ronald Beddows.

Moynelle and Mildred said they, too, worked the farm as young girls.

"Our brother, Blair Jr., went into the military service, so we girls milked the cows, got the eggs and did the plowing," Moynelle said.

Blair Jr. now lives in New England.

The arrival of the Schetrompf family's first motorized tractor was a red-letter day, according to Moynelle, who said farm work became much easier than it had been with raw horsepower.

The family also includes another sister, Yvonne Perry, who lives in Frederick, Md. Augusta's fifth child, Margaret, passed away.

Mildred said she remembers that the family never missed going to church. She said her mother was never idle.

"She was the disciplinarian, mostly," Mildred said.

Born in 1905, Augusta now is into the sixth year of the 21st century and still going strong.

When asked to what she attributes her longevity, Augusta said she was as puzzled as the experts.

"I don't know what the secret to long life is," she said.

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