DIANE MAKAR MURPHY Woman shares story of a long life journey
Margaret Hupp is one of two Alterra Sterling House assisted living residents closing in on a century of living. In July, she and James Swisher (featured in Tuesday's column) will both celebrate the 100th anniversary of their births.
"I was born on the North Side of Youngstown, what was called Brier Hill, on Friday the 13th. And this year, my birthday falls on Friday the 13th," Margaret said.
Luck, good or bad, however, seems to have had little to do with Margaret's longevity. That, it seems, might be attributed to hard work, faith and family.
Margaret attended Emmanuel Lutheran Church school, ending her education when she graduated from the eighth grade. She began working at 13, bagging coal for a local company. "It cost 25 cents a bag," she recalled.
As a young adult, Margaret worked as a secretary in the fur department of Strouss-Hirshberg Department Store in downtown Youngstown, occasionally modeling the furs. "They never gave me one," she said with a laugh.
Whole life ahead: At 21, the former Margaret Krause married Max Hupp. Hupp was a typesetter out of Canada. He eventually spent 27 years of his 52-year printing career working for The Vindicator. Max and Margaret had six children, one of whom died at 5.
The only times, in 99 years, Margaret was in the hospital was to deliver four of her six children. "I was always very healthy," she said.
When the children were born, Margaret concentrated her hard work at home rearing her children and "keeping an immaculate house," said her daughter and son-in-law Nancy and Russell Brown. "It was that German Lutheran background," Russell said.
Standing out: When asked what stands out most in the last 100 years, Margaret seemed flustered. "Well, raising the children, of course," she said. Then she added, "I had a lot of fun in all that time. Ice skating and sledding in Mill Creek Park was wonderful."
The Browns prodded, "And you have 14 grandchildren and 11 great- grandchildren. And didn't you used to ride in a horse and buggy?"
"I used to go in a horse and buggy, then a Maxwell [automobile] with side curtains instead of windows. If it rained, you had to get the curtains closed quickly," Margaret said.
"We didn't spend a lot of money like they do today. And we had a lot of fun."
Margaret modestly disdained giving advice. "I don't need to give my children advice. They're all living a good life. What could I tell you?"
How about how to live to 100? "Clean your plate," Margaret joked.
What has been the hardest thing about reaching 100? "Nothing," she said.
"Breaking your hip," her daughter suggested. "She was moving around and living in her home taking care of herself three years ago [at 97]."
Then she broke her hip "being nosy," Margaret said.
"Nancy and I were shopping. She opened the car door for me, but I saw a bag on the trunk in front of us."
When Margaret went to look, she slipped on the ice.
Moving on: Even then she went back home with a walker and still lived on her own. Another fall and a broken leg then restricted Margaret to a wheelchair. She then moved to Sterling House.
"I saw this place going up from my kitchen window," she said, "and here I'm in it. It was very sad to leave my home.
"I didn't even want to live this long," she said. A parishioner of St. Mark Lutheran Church, she prays "every night to not wake up."
"But," said Margaret, "God's not ready for me yet. A girl [who works] here said she's going to hunt my bones in heaven when she dies."
I wondered aloud if Margaret might not hunt HER bones when SHE dies. She laughed. "Maybe I will."