South Walton’s Latest Centenarian is full of life!
As we waited for the birthday festivities at Somerby to begin, Mrs. Dorothy FaceTimed with her 96 year old little sister, Virginia. It’s not everyday you attend a birthday party for someone 100 years young.
But first, a little background…
Dorothy Wall was born into a family of 8 children in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on September 20th, 1916. Across the sea, Europe was in the throws of WWI, (the United States would not join the war for another year). On the home front, the first true supermarket, known as Piggly Wiggly, opened in Memphis Tennessee. A loaf of bread cost seven cents and the average price of a new car was $400, (that’s about $9,000 today). In those days, the average home in the US cost a whopping $5,000, (about $115,000 today). Monet painted his famous “Water Lilies” series this year and at 1,063 feet, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world. Today, it’s the tallest structure in Paris. At that time, only six out of every 100 people in the US were high school graduates and only eight of every 100 homes had a telephone. Mrs Dorothy’s home was one of them.
Much has happened in a century!
“Mrs Dorothy is my angel”, says Somerby move-in coordinator, Brooke Ward. “Spunky and full of life, it’s never a dull moment when Dorothy is out and about.”
Visiting her grandparents farm is one of her most cherished childhood memories. “They always had the best food because they had such large gardens and everything was so fresh. The hired help would put us up on a horse and we’d sit in the saddle and they would lead us around until we were big enough to do it ourselves.” Mrs Dorothy took also piano lessons and greatly enjoyed music. “My mother was a wonderful cook”, she recounts. “She always sewed my clothes. I had so many pretty things and my girlfriends would always be jealous, but I couldn’t do anything about it”, she laughs. She describes her mother as being a “smart woman” and was always so impressed because her mother was an only child and had to teach herself all the things she did so well. Mrs Dorothy also reports having “a good many boyfriends” and when asked about her favorite date, she says she always liked going to the movies.
Dorothy was married to her late husband, Carson Wall, in Birmingham Alabama, where she spent most of her adult life. Carson owned an insurance business and before their children were born, Dorothy worked as a secretary for the state government. A highlight for Dorothy was meeting Coach Bear Bryant. She and Carson enjoyed ballroom dancing, traveling, playing golf and eating out. The Bright Star, in Bessemer AL, was a favorite of hers and she always made sure to order her coffee “piping hot.” After her children were born she became a stay at home mom. Dorothy is the longest living of her seven siblings so far.
Back to the party!
Her two children, Eddie Wall and Sharon Mitchell, sat on either side of her throughout the festivities, which included a beautiful ballroom dancing exhibition by Summer Hernandez and Eric Luna of Luna Ballroom Dance Studio in Destin. The dancers saved Mrs Dorothy’s favorite for last, the waltz. As those in attendance watched the youthful dancers grace the floor, one couldn’t help but imagine Dorothy and Carson as the couple, so many years ago. Her eyes lit up with the glow of 100 candles as a spirited “Happy Birthday” echoed through the halls. Her niece Diane and her husband Gary Wright, as well as her grandchildren, Chase and Natalie Mitchell, also attended the celebration. The entire foyer was filled with Somerby residents and it’s plain to see that Mrs. Dorothy has a life filled with love, friends, and family. She is cherished by all who know her and will continue to “not take life too seriously.” Her secret? “Age is a state of mind.”