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Sandra K. Gorin, Gorin Genealogical Publishing   Volume 2 of Barren's Black
Roots, Michelle Gorin Burris, (c) Aug 1992). By permission of the author.


The Fullness of Life


By Lucy Albright, unknown newspaper, likely written in the 1960-1970ís.


                Mrs. Elma Martin Pipkin observed her 90th birthday anniversary Sunday, June 21, at her home in Monroe county near Gamaliel. She lives alone, where for the past two years she has spent her days in a wheel chair. She does not known [sic] the cause of her infirmity, but says that her feet just gave out on her and other than that her general health is good.


                Mrs. Pipkin is a retired school teacher, having taught in the schools in Monroe county for 42 years before retirement. She taught at Turkey-Neck bend, Tompkinsville, Gamaliel, Bethlehem, Tooley Ridge, Forkton and White Oak Ridge, near Fountain Run, where she says the enrollment was the largest of any school she taught. She thinks all of her pupils who attended there are dead with the exception of one.


                Her late husband, Roscoe Pipkin, was also a school teacher and retired after teaching for 52 years. She was seven years younger than her husband but, when he retired, she chose to retire at the same time and stay at home. They never had any children. He died fourteen years ago.


                Mrs. Pipkin says she loved teaching and she was a dedicated teacher. Her formal education was two semesters of high school, which he attained at Glasgow in addition to the eight grades, but she is innately intelligent, and had a natural gift of teaching children. She does not recall when she learned the Multiplication Table, as it seems she always knew it.


                She was a firm believer in discipline in the school room and was of the opinion that schools were for the prime purpose for children to learn. Too many extra school activities, Mrs. Pipkin believes, interferes with a child attaining an education. She does not answer to the school situation. She rather thinks that equal but separate schools for the black and white races would be more preferable. She thinks that each race of people should stay within its own race and work for its betterment and advancement. However she has lived at the same location on highway 100 for seventy years and her neighbors have in most part been white people and they have been and continue to be friends.


                After Mrs. Pipkin became confined to a wheel chair, she purchased a trailer and placed it in her yard, near her home, where Mr. and Mrs. Moore and their son live. Mr. Moore and the son tend her land and Mrs. Moore aids Mrs. Pipkin with things she can not do for herself and she says it is a most satisfactory arrangement. She spends her days alone, but not lonely, as it seems some one calls to see her each day, and she enjoys her T. C., and daily newspaper (though her eyesight is not as good as it once was).


                She particularly delights in reading the Bible, and she has one in large print. She is a member of the Church of Christ and since she is not able to attend services, an elder from the Tompkinsville Church of Christ visits her each Sunday for a little service and observance of the Lordís Supper.


                Mrs. Pipkin has no gripes with life, and points out that Christ never complained. She says she never worries, she just lives one day at a time, and leaves things in the hands of the Lord.


                She attributed her longevity to obeying her mother and trying to live right. Her mind is very alert, her hearing is excellent, her appetite is good. She has a sense of humor, and enjoys a good laugh, and it appears she is well on the road toward the centenarian mark.


                Her mother, Mrs. Elsie Lankford, lived four months beyond her one hundredth birthday. She was born in 1859 six years before Emancipation came to her race. She was a good practical nurse, and her services wee much in demand, particularly in the care of babies. She was thrice married, and a short time before she reached a hundred, she remarked that if she could find a nice old gentleman, she would marry again, adopt some children and raise them like children should be raised.


                Ms. Pipkin is a most admirable credit to her people. She has lived a full, useful happy life, and she is spending her golden years in a most exemplary manner.




Copyright © 2004 - 2010 C. Harvey