The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


May 31, 2013

Blossom out: Piney Chapel woman shares life’s wisdom


Life begins at 40

Gladys recalled telling everyone that if she lived to be age 40, they were going to have a party. “So when I got 40 years old, I hired a band,” she said. “Billie Sue Whitt helped prepare all this and make a cake. The whole party was centered around ‘Life begins at 40.’”

It wasn’t long before Gladys' party theme shaped her own life. Her husband was retiring and her kids were out of school, so Gladys decided to stay home and run a day care. She ran the day care for almost nine years.

“I guess I’m a jack of all trades,” she joked.

It was age 70 when Gladys said she really retired. “I said to myself now what can a fat lady do,” she said with a grin. “At 70, I started a flower garden with the help of five other flower friends. Now I’m into my 12th year and, oh, it is gorgeous.”

Gladys said during life’s trials, she has always tried to stay happy and never look back.

“All these experiences that have happened to me in my life I have counted as stepping stones,” she said. “For young people — if they have their mind set — nothing is impossible.” That is what Gladys wants young people to understand as they journey into the real world.

She added so many young people today don’t have any hope or any health. “My heart just goes out to them,” she said.

Today, Gladys hopes to encourage others. She invites others to her home where she sells flowers and shares life’s lessons.  “Now, I’m just a happy old woman,” she said,


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