Iowa Falls, IA: The Year Was 1912

The year started with 46 stars on the American flag. With the admission of Arizona and New Mexico, President Taft ordered the 48-star flag on June 24. The average worker earned $200 – $400 per year. The US population was 95 million. Most women washed their hair once a month using borax or egg yolks for shampoo. The leading causes of death: Pneumonia, Influenza, Tuberculosis, Diarrhea, Heart Disease, and Stroke. Life expectancy was 51.8 years for women and 48.4 for men. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.” The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30. The girl scouts were formed. The South Pole was discovered. The Titanic sank. W. C. Handy published “Memphis Blues”, considered the 1st blues song. Arizona, Kansas & Wisconsin vote for female suffrage. Woodrow Wilson defeated Theodore Roosevelt & President William H. Taft. These are just a few of the things that happened in our country 105 years ago in the year 1912. The other important thing that happened was the birth of a special lady named Helen. She grew up in Iowa where she lived through the Great Depression, two world wars, got married and raised a family. Today she lives in the Heritage Care Center community, plays bingo and enjoys the quiet afternoons. Aside from failing sight and hearing, her health is good and her mind is sharp.
We have a great bakery, “The Rolling Pin” (owned and operated by Marlena Foto), that works with the Corner Pharmacy uptown. The pharmacy pays for personal sized birthday cakes for all of our residents and the bakery has us find out what flavor of cake and what the resident would like to see on top. It’s not every day that we have a resident turn 105. When we told the bakery about the special occasion, Marlena made a large cake and beautifully decorated it with a cardinal. The staff gathered together in the dining room during lunch and sang “Happy Birthday”. The other residents gasped when they heard how old she was turning, and another resident who is 100 laughed when I mentioned that there was someone older than she was. From the broad smile on Helen’s face we could tell she had a great time.
When we think about Helen’s age it’s hard to contemplate everything that’s happened in her life, both worldwide and at home. There was no T.V, no phone, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing for a long time. Life was hard, but honest and simple. People understood where they came from and had big dreams for the future.

Quality Life: We will create a living environment that radiates love, peace, spiritual contentment, dignity and safety, while encouraging personal independence.

Submitted By:

Carol Lambert, Life Enrichment Coordinator

Heritage Care Center, Iowa Falls, IA