Local working woman eyes retirement at age 90

Hildred Harris plans to retire after 21 years at Hager Optical

September 18, 2011|By MEGAN MOWEN |
  • Hildred Harris of Hagerstown, 90, will retire from Hager Optical at the beginning of November.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — A Hagerstown woman is preparing to retire, but she doesn’t plan to do so until after she turns 90.

Hildred Harris, a part-time receptionist at Hager Optical Inc. at 251 E. Baltimore St. in Hagerstown, plans to retire after 21 years at the business.

Her 90th birthday is Oct. 3, and her last work day is scheduled to be Nov. 1.

Hildred used to work about 20 hours a week, but she has reduced that to 12 hours a week. She said having a job has kept her busy and given her something on which to focus.

“I think it is good for my health as well as my mind,” Hildred said. “I like people and I have been very fortunate to work with really nice people.”

Her tasks over the years have included answering the phone, greeting customers, preparing orders, filing papers and showing eyeglass frames to customers. Once a month, she cleans all the eyeglass frames on display, a task that takes her all day to complete.

“She came here back in 1990 and is still with us,” said William Sachs, 55, president of Hager Optical Inc. “We hate to see her leave.”

Hildred has known Sachs since he was a baby because her mother, Mary Martin, was his nanny.

After retiring, Hildred will take a vacation to Myrtle Beach, S.C., a present from her family. She wants to spend time with her family, including two daughters, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“I plan to enjoy my family and go to my great-grandchildren’s ball games and be with them as much as possible,” she said.

During her free time, Harris likes to read and take walks. She is known in her family for the cookies she bakes, especially during the holidays.

Hildred was born in Paramount, but moved to Hagerstown, where she grew up and continued to live after marrying Eddie Harris in 1941. He died in November 1973.

“He was a wonderful, happy man,” she  said. “He loved life.”

Hildred began her employment years at a young age working for her father, Willis Martin, at Fountain Head Dairy, delivering milk to homes in the area.

Once her children were in school, she went to work at Stewart’s, a sandwich shop that was close to home. She later worked at Terminix Pest Control for 25 years before going to work at Hager Optical Inc.

During her years of working, Hildred said, her only wish was to be a good mother and make the right decisions.

“I hope and pray I have,” she said.

Counting her blessings has helped her through the years, she said.

“I have many, many blessings and I enjoy my family and the folks I have worked with,” she said.

With tears of love, daughter Sandra Schultz, 67, of Hagerstown, said her mother is an inspiration to her, and she has always been there for her family.

“She enjoys talking to people, and it keeps her young and spry and active,” Schultz said.

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