Elizabeth Reynolds will celebrate her 105th birthday the day after Christmas. She has been a lifelong resident of Grayson County, living in the house she was born in until age 99.
“I was born at home Dec. 26, 1913 in the Pink Hill community,” Reynolds said. “People didn’t go to the hospital then.”
Reynolds, now a resident at Denison Nursing and Rehabilitation, said she is looking forward to her 105th birthday party that will be Wednesday at the facility. Reynolds said she has fond memories of the rural community near Bells where she and her younger sister grew up, including early mornings of milking cows, feeding hogs and performing other chores.
“We went to Pink Hill School,” Reynolds said. “I think it had two rooms. We had two teachers and the school had 11 grades.”
Reynolds made it clear that the common thread that has run through her many years of living has been her faith in God and longtime membership at Antioch Baptist Church.
“Antioch Baptist Church has meant everything,” she said. “I played the piano there for over 60 years. Over the years, I have also served as church secretary, treasurer and taught Sunday school.”
Jeana Morrison, a physical therapist’s assistant at Denison Nursing and Rehabilitation, said Reynolds has always been a ray of sunshine to everyone.
“She loves to tell stories, and is sharp as a tack,” Morrison said of Reynolds. “She just brightens everybody’s day. She’s just such a sweetheart because she is always thankful for everybody that does something for her. She amazes me. She’s a miracle that just keeps on giving because not very many people live to be that old and I know that people that do don’t get to be as bright as she is.”
In addition to her fondness for life in the country and being with friends at school, Reynolds had a love of baseball as a youth.
“The girls had a baseball team, and I played first base,” she said. “We had a girl who had brothers who were good pitchers. They taught her to pitch, and we could beat just about anybody.”
Reynolds’ future husband, Elmer, had a similar love of the game and was also an accomplished baseball player.
“Later, we had a Pink Hill Community team that was boys that my husband played on,” she said. “He played second base and outfield and got the nickname ‘Tuggles’ from the comic strip ‘Maggie and Jinx.’”
Elmer Reynolds had a short stint in the major leagues, attending one of the training camps in Arkansas shortly after getting married.
“When Elmer and I married, he and I each had $9 and there was not enough for my wedding ring,” Elizabeth Reynolds said. “When he decided to leave the camp in Arkansas, he took the train home and used his severance money to buy me a wedding band during a stop-over in Texarkana.”
She described the happy reunion of the two newlyweds.
“He got home and everybody in Bells could hear my dad holler, ‘Here he comes,” Elizabeth Reynolds said. “Elmer got off the train and said, ‘I brought you something.’ He handed me that wedding band. I was tickled because I wanted everybody to know I was married.”
From that impromptu ring ceremony, Elizabeth Reynolds and her husband enjoyed a happy marriage that was closely linked to the community that had brought them together, their church and hard work.