100-years-old's secret to her long life: Not misbehavin'
By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 20, 2008 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- The sparkle in her eyes, her quick wit and laughter belie Elizabeth Hines' age, making it hard to believe she is 100 years old.
She turned the century mark last Thursday and her family, driving in from as far away as Texas and Wisconsin, celebrated with several gatherings.
Sitting next to her children on a swing on her back porch last Thursday afternoon, Mrs. Hines talked about her long life and family.
She laughed when asked the secret to her long life.
"Behaving myself," she said.
She said she has seen too many changes in the world to even begin to describe them.
"Lord a mercy, I'd be so old by the time I'd get through telling you," she said.
She has three daughters and a son, 13 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
"I just can't believe there are so many of them. I enjoy them all," she said.
Mrs. Hines was married to the late Reginald Hines Sr., who died in 1983. He owned Wayne Engineering and Construction Co. His company built highways, including the first bypass around Mount Olive in 1950.
"He built roads from here to everywhere," Mrs. Hines said.
Mrs. Hines has lived on the same block of East College Street for all of her 100 years with the exception of a few months when she and her husband lived in South Carolina. The house where she now resides is just down the block from where she grew up.
Mrs. Hines is independent and still does almost everything for herself.
"She has slowed down at 100, but she still gets out," said her daughter, Casey Sutton. "If you say 'go' she is ready to go."
Mrs. Sutton, whose home is next door, has stayed with Mrs. Hines since she broke her hip last year. Audrey Lane stays with Mrs. Hines when Mrs. Sutton is out of the house.
Mrs. Sutton said her mother has recovered well from the hip injury.
"We have been lucky. She is in wonderful health. She doesn't take any medicine except Tylenol at night if her hip hurts," Mrs. Sutton said.
She said that the medical staff at the hospital was amazed that Mrs. Hines did not need to take pain medication following her hip surgery. She still goes for regular walks and is a familiar sight on East College Street.
Mrs. Hines said in her youth, she loved to dance.
She has been active in the First Baptist Church of Mount Olive where she played the organ and piano for more than 40 years.
She still enjoys playing bridge with her friends, but does not play as often as she once did. An artist, her work is on display in her home and in her children's homes.
She has a sister, Pattie Reaves, 96, who lives in Clinton.
Mrs. Hines' father, George Edgar Summerlin, was chief of the Mount Olive Fire Department, as was her brother, the late Edgar Summerlin. The Wayne County Firemen's Association's top award is named in his honor.
Family members kidded her about her inability to make a decision. Her daughters laughed when they told the story of how she and their father got married.
The young couple had decided to marry in February but Mrs. Hines backed out. He determined that July that the time had come.
"He said 'come on and ride out in the country with me a way,'" Mrs. Hines said. "He said 'we are going to South Carolina this afternoon (to be married) or I'm not going to be back.' I never regretted it. Some times, I would get mad with him, but he was good to me.
"But it worked out all right. He knew that I knew that he was joking."
"I have had a good life, I really have," Mrs. Hines said. "We have all had a good life, we have all been lucky. When you get to be 100 you can say what you want if they will listen to me. I have seen a lot. I have lived through so many wonderful times."
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