Celebrating 102 years of life

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By Becky Cassell, Editor

Bea Wethington of Campbellsville will celebrate a milestone tomorrow that few of us are able to - her 102nd birthday.

On Monday, Wethington remarked that there have been many changes in the world during her lifetime as well as many advancements.

She was also disappointed that the University of Kentucky lost its game in the national tournament.

"I didn't like that much," she said with a laugh.

Originally from the Feathersburg community, Wethington's mother died when she was just 13. That's when she had to take over the housework since her older sister had died in childbirth.

"I hated Mondays worst of all," she says. "That was wash day ... and I couldn't sleep the night before just for dreading it."

There was also an older brother and two younger siblings, one of whom had Down's syndrome, who were entrusted to their sister's care.

Wethington married Wilbur Wethington when she was 19. The couple moved to Roley and eventually had two daughters, Melva Beard, who now lives in Louisiana, and Martha McCubbin of Campbellsville. She also has six grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.

Wethington laughs as she tells how she and her husband became a couple.

She attended Bear Wallow Church and a mutual friend told her Wilbur wanted to sit by her.

"So he came in and sat with me," she said with a laugh. "But I'd have sworn I'd have never married him."

She said the two were together off and on for some time before Wilbur "finally gave over." She said he went to her father and asked for his permission to marry.

"I asked him what he said, and he told me, 'The road is clear.' So we got married."

But the two kept their marriage a secret for a couple months. As they were of different faiths, they knew his mother wouldn't be thrilled.

"And I can see that now ... I'm older now and I can see the difference ... but back then we couldn't."

Throughout the years, Wethington has enjoyed crocheting and fishing.

"I caught some big ones, too," she laughs.

She tells of a time her husband took her deep sea fishing and she snagged a 45-pound red snapper.

"I thought I'd caught the biggest one of all of us," she said, "but then my husband came along and caught one just a little bit bigger."

Her husband died in 1964 and Wethington remained in Campbellsville until about five years ago, when she went to Louisiana to live with her daughter. But a year ago, during a return visit to Campbellsville, she fell and broke her ankle. She has been unable to walk since then and now lives at The Grandview.

Wethington will celebrate her birthday with a trip to Russell Springs on Saturday. Many family members are planning to attend, with several from out of state.

Wethington says she's had a long life with lots of hills and valleys.

"All the good and all the bad goes with all of us through life."

Editor Rebecca Cassell can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 227 or by e-mail at editor@cknj.com.