Today we celebrate the birthday of a special lady in our community. May Williams was born and raised in Charlotte, and now lives in Rock Hill. Today she is 102 years old. At one of her three birthday parties this week, she was floating on air. She was graceful as she greeted friends who came to celebrate with her; and they even gave her a crown. “I have one at home that someone got when I was 100. But somebody brought me a new one.”
Taking an impromptu dance with the younger fellow, Hugh Barnett, who is 100 years old, one thing you notice…she doesn’t have a walker. She never uses one; doesn’t even own one. One of her friends said “She embarrasses all of us because she runs up and down the stairs all the time. She never takes the elevator.” Jonathan Kimball, the wellness director at the retirement center where she stays, is impressed by her, “The way she moves... she doesn’t move like you’d expect someone a hundred of two to move.” And because she can move, Ms. May Williams’ social calendar is always full. She’s on the dance team, Dance Fever, and last weekend she was in Rock Hill’ Come See Me Parade.
“My favorite is bowling,” she adds. This 102 year-old woman bowls four times a week. And, her friends say she’s competitive.
May Williams also has the reputation of being a fashion plate. Friends comment on her shape and her love of lipstick. She says, “I don’t know anything about fashion. I just know how I feel when I get dressed with my earrings and my necklace, and everything on. And everybody thinks I’m dressed up!”
The world has certainly changed over the past 100 years, and May Williams has kept up with it. “I’ve got a cell phone. Oh yes. I’ve got all my family…2, 3, 4. I don’t have to dial it.” That’s a big difference from the first phone her she remembers her parents having. “They’re ringing it and our number was three. It had to ring three times before you can answer it.”
She loves reciting her love story. Married twice, the first one was when she was 18 years old. But he died in an accident working on the railroads. Seven years later she married again, “and I stayed with this husband 62 years.” May Williams has two children, three granddaughters and one great granddaughter.
When asked about the secret to a long life, she said there really isn’t one, “The lord just hasn’t called me yet.” The other centenarian in the group, Mr. Hugh Barnett, agreed. “Sometimes I claim it was due to grits and collard greens and other times it’s just good fortune.”