In the days leading up to her birthday, Alma Carter would tell friends and staff at the Royse City Medical Lodge where she resides that she needed to rest so that she could make it to her birthday. This past week she made it.
Alma Carter celebrated her 100th birthday this past Wednesday surrounded by family members from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and as far down as Houston who came to Royse City to have lunch with her.
“I love people,” she said as she saw her kids, now parents and grandparents themselves, walk into her room on her birthday. “I’ve got a big family and I love to be with all of them.”
When asked what the secret to living a hundred years is, she responded with one word: Happiness.
“That’s the only thing I can think of,” Carter said. “We had a happy family, a big family. We were good Christians. I don’t have anything to complain about, except losing my husband.”
Her husband, Warren Carter, was a World War II veteran and dentist in Dallas where the two of them raised their five kids. He passed away in 1992 after more than 50 years of marriage.
“We were very, very close so it was difficult, but we raised five kids.”
Yet at 100 years of age, she still cracks jokes and embarasses her kids when they’re around - it’s one of the things that makes the centenarian laugh.
“They put up with me all these years and I got plenty more of them, too. I’m not going to say anything else embarrassing,” she said looking at her daughter Joy across the room “I like it though, because she’s easily embarrassed.”
When she’s not joking around or speaking with others, she enjoys sleeping, reading and solving crossword puzzles.
“I love being old,” she said.
In addition to recalling her childhood playing basketball and baseball when the local team finally had enough members, she remembered the advice her mother gave her when she was younger.
“My mother always said ‘Live your life so that when you get ready to close your eyes the last time you won’t be doing it tearfully, except for hating to leave people,’” Carter recalled.
Carter was born to James and Georgia Thomas on Sept. 11, 1919 in Chalk, Texas and later moved with her family to nearby Dumont before they headed to Lubbock, where she met her future husband. The two were married in 1940.
She was a PTA member, scout leader, Sunday school and vacation bible school teacher. Her family also remembers when she would hand make their clothes and cook for the entire family.
The celebration on Sept. 11 at the medical lodge was the prelude to the larger celebration her loved ones held in Rockwall on Saturday. Family members anticipated 80 or more people would be in attendance to celebrate the centenarian.
“You won’t talk to too many people older than I am, but I love being old,” Carter said. “We’ve had a good life. My mother and daddy taught us to be happy with what we have and we were.”