East Texan To Celebrate 100th Birthday - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/5/04-Overton

East Texan To Celebrate 100th Birthday

  18 U.S. presidents, the sinking of the Titanic and the Great Depression. One East Texas native has lived through them all. Jeanette Acklen was born and raised in Overton and in 3 weeks she will celebrate her 100th birthday.
  "I thank the Lord how I have been blessed," Mrs. Acklen said.
  She can remember when Overton was still just a booming oil town with sandy roads.
  "When I grew up we didn't have the water, the lights, the gas, we had a fire place," she said. "My mother was a good person and she never left anyone alone when they were ill. She would go and stay with them."
  Soon, she will celebrate a century of memories, many of those made in a home that's older than herself.
  "My house, I love it, what I have in it is antiques. And I'm an antique," she said with a laugh.
  Mrs. Acklen served as a teacher in Overton, a career she says most women back then had to take.
  "Children have so many advantages as to what we did not have when I was growing up. They can do anything if they want to, and accomplish so much more."
  She is still able to move around pretty steadily, but she does miss a few things from her younger years.
  "Most of all what I miss is driving an automobile," she said. "We had Ford cars, we had to crank and I was the cranker."
   So what's her secret to long life? She says it's her diet of the curious kind.
"I'm ashamed to tell what I eat. I eat sweet potatoes everyday."
  She said though the world has changed, her dreams in life never did.
  "My prayer every night is for peace to come to the world. I hope the good Lord will help me still live and be well as I am."
  A community birthday celebration will be held for Jeanette Acklen this Saturday in Overton at Swanzy Hall. In 1968, Mrs. Acklen served on the building committee that broke ground for the hall construction.

Story by Maya Golden, mgolden@kltv.com

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