NORMAN — Surrounded by framed aging photos in her Heartland Plaza room, Estelle Young said she could fill three books with her memories. With no apparent regrets, Young will turn 100 years old on Aug. 2. Friends and family are traveling from all over the country to attend her party at 1 p.m. at Heartland Plaza, 301 N. Eastern Ave., on Friday. About 80 or 90 people are expected to show up.
Young’s memories start early. She remembers monitoring her papa’s grocery store at age 6 when he’d go out to the country.
“They just wrote down what they bought, and they’d eventually pay papa,” she said.
She said she learned to drive at age 11 after her mama wrecked the car and wouldn’t drive anymore.
“Nobody had cars much ... Papa just thought we had to have one, and seemed to manage to make sure we did.”
Eighty-one years later her family members would make her give up her car.
“It hurt me more than anything when they made me give up my car,” she said.
She attended a one-teacher school outside of Ardmore. By eighth grade, she was “ready to go somewhere else,” so she took her famous homemade biscuits and a few girl friends to a baking contest at Oklahoma A&M, now called Oklahoma State University.
“We didn’t win a thing, but we didn’t care. We was having such a good time,” she said. “Country girls had never got to go to anywhere, and to get to go to A&M ...”
Life was all about hard work back then. Young remembers her papa taking her out west to pick cotton. She’d hurl a 100-pound bag of cotton over her shoulder, and when her husband Claude — they were just going together at the time — would ask how much she’d picked, she’d always lie to make him feel better.