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Johnston County woman looks back on 100 years

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KENLY — Georgia Langley’s formula for living a long, healthy life has been pretty simple.

“Just live right, eat right and trust in the Lord,” she said.

Langley, who lives in Johnston County’s Hickory Crossroads community, turned 100 years old on Friday and celebrated her birthday Saturday at Rains Crossroads Free Will Baptist Church’s fellowship hall with about 150 people in attendance.

Earlier in the week, Langley gathered with a few people at her home to reflect upon her life.

Georgia (Lewis) Langley was born into a farming family in the Pinckney community on Nov. 29, 1919, the daughter of Stephen and Annie Lewis, and the second youngest of seven children.

“We lived between Princeton and Rosewood and it was three miles into town,” said Langley. “We did not have electricity, but we had kerosene lamps.”

The family raised tobacco, cotton, corn, soybeans, watermelons, pigs and chickens.

“I helped work when I got big enough,” said Langley. “I suckered tobacco but was scared to pick the tobacco worms off the leaves, so I used a clothespin to get them off.”

Langley attended Nahunta School from first through 11th grade and worshiped at Nahunta Friends, a Quaker church.

She said she played basketball in school and hopscotch and horseshoes at home.

“I never went swimming,” said Langley. “I was scared of the water because people get drowned.”

Langley said she remembers going to the movies during her younger years at Paramount Theater in Goldsboro where she recalled seeing “The Ten Commandments.”

Langley got her first driver’s license when she was 18 and drove until about nine years ago.

“I could drive now as good as I could then, but my children won’t let me,” she said. “I had to quit driving because every once in a great while, my knees would buckle up. So I guess it was best that I stopped.”

In 1939 she married Robert Langley and the couple was to raise a daughter, Panda Crocker, and two sons, Danny Langley and Robert G. Langley.

Langley said she took her first job at Kenly Auto Auction working for Ed Radford when she was 45 years old. She worked there for 42 years until the age of 87.

“My job was cooking and Mr. Radford said if I boiled corncobs, they would be good,” said Langley.

She also worked some at Dixie Diner in Kenly.

According to her family, Langley’s skills in the kitchen are legendary. Relatives say she’s been especially proficient at preparing such dishes as chicken pastry, chocolate pies, collards, cabbage, fried pork chops, fried chicken, country ham, butterbeans and sweet potatoes.

She said her favorite food is fried chicken.

Langley said one of her favorite hobbies has been raising and growing flowers in her yard.

“I had flowers everywhere when I was able,” she said.

Langley said she now enjoys reading the Bible and Western novels, completing puzzles, and watching basketball and golf on TV.

She said her favorite TV shows are “Jeopardy” — “but we can’t get it here no more” — “Wheel of Fortune” and other game shows.

When Langley had a pacemaker implanted about 10 years ago, her cardiologist told daughter Panda Crocker that her mother had the heart of a 25-year-old.