Visit to Mrs. Bettie Wilson

November 28, 2004; Mr. Robert Young reports... "Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I had the opportunity to visit with Mrs. Bettie Wilson, 114 years old (ranked No. 4 on Table E), at home, where she lives with her Great-Granddaughter, Della Shorter. While there, Ms. Shorter wanted to know about other Supercentenarians, so I got out a newspaper story of Susie Gibson (ranked No. 6 on Table E) celebrating her 114th (or 115th- claimed) birthday. To my surprise, she handed it to Bettie who started reading it. I took this photo of the spontaneous, unplanned event. It turned out to be a great photo. I believe that the photo is a great representation of what Table E can accomplish. (In fact, publicity over Bettie Wilson being the "4th-Oldest in the World" could be enough to get her a new home. See the article in the New Albany Gazette.)

Other surprises: She can still talk on the phone, and she signed her name. The talking on the phone was unexpected (as was with Charlotte Benkner). I walked into the room and she was on the phone, talking to her 95-year-old Son. I did ask her to sign her name, but I was expecting an "X." She fooled me again with a decent, readable signature.

However, all was not so rosy: Her house is indeed falling apart (the kitchen floor is ready to collapse), and I slipped and fell on the dilapidated front porch, breaking my $300 audiotape recorder) . Also, an attack of gallstones resulted in an operation in September which sapped some of her memory, and now she has to use oxygen about [2 - 3] hours a day. Still, the doctors didn't really expect her to pull through, but she showed them once again!