January 16, 2013Can you imagine living through some of the most memorable points in history?
Neither can I.
Above, Effie Owen, right, is pictured with her in-laws, Nancy Mae and David Lee Owen, just a short time after she was married. Below, Owen, at 93, is still active within her home and church. Before her eyesight declined, she was an avid ceramics fan and had her own pottery wheel and kiln for years.
But Effie Owen, of Georgetown, can.
Owen, 93, was born on Aug. 3, 1919, to parents Fred and Edna Pearl Langley. Of her three sisters and two half-brothers, she is the eldest. Of her siblings, a sister is still living.
Owen has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, Brown vs. The Board of Education and the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Though she has never paid much attention to politics, she does appreciate the changing technology that has made life easier for her and others.
"Some of it, I think, has helped, and some of it hasn't," Owen said. "I sure wouldn't want to go back from a washing machine to washing on a washboard, or taking a bath behind the kitchen stove!"
Owen has seen a lot in her life. Her father passed away when she was at the tender age of 10.
"(Mother) waited until all of us — I have three sisters — were married, and then she got remarried," Owen said.
Owen herself was married to Clifford L. Owen, of C.L. Owen Construction, before he passed away 14 years ago.
The date of our interview, Jan. 11, would have been their 76th wedding anniversary.
"We were married on Jan. 11, 1937, just before the flood," she said. "He passed away 14 years ago this past December, and he was originally from Corydon."
One of the most memorable moments in her marriage was when the 1937 flood came.
"I lived in New Albany and had just gotten married when it came along," she said. "We were married two weeks and he went to work in Louisville, and he didn't get home for two weeks."
They had no way to connect to let one another know that they were each safe.
"We didn't know," Owen said. "He sent me two telegrams, and he got home before the two telegrams got to me!"
Family is a large part of Owen's life, and her family is especially notable because of the number of members she has.
Her granddaughter, Lisa Payne, 41, of New Salisbury, was on hand to help count it all up.
"There will be 102 of us before the end of the year," Payne said. "That's just counting blood relatives that started with Grandma and Grandpa."
The Owens had eight children of their own: Carolyn, Clifford Jr., Fred, twins Barbara and Beverly, Paula, Chris and Doug. An even split of four girls and four boys.
She now has 26 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren and 24 great-great-grandchildren. The oldest grandchild is 53, and the youngest great-great grandchild is 7 days old.
That brings the grand total to 97.
And though she doesn't always remember every birthday and exact name, they each hold a special place in her heart.
"Well, I think everybody needs a family," Owen said. "I have friends without any family, friends that I talk to every night before I go to bed or every morning."
Payne said her grandmother has a zest for life and isn't sedentary during the daylight hours.
"She's still very active, she still takes her laundry out and takes out the trash," Payne said. "She still has a great memory; she doesn't just sit around and mope around doing nothing."
At 93, Owen can't pursue her passion of spinning ceramics anymore, but she still enjoys collecting books, though, due to vision loss in her left eye, she doesn't read them much and instead now listens to books on tape. She also is very active in her women's Bible study and has been a member of Georgetown Christian Church since her husband passed. She also still loves anything chocolate and all things purple.
Owen isn't afraid of the future or what it may hold for her and is ready to face every day with eyes and heart wide open.
"Oh no, I'm not afraid," she said. "What's to be will be, and I can't change that."