Aug. 24--Stan Rogers of Trenton visited Anchor Health & Rehab in Aiken on Thursday -- singing for about a dozen residents, including Edith Hammon.
She doesn't hear well these days, and her son, John Church, connected a powerful speaker with headphones for her.
Miss Edith did hear the song, enough to tear up when Rogers performed such a charming selection in honor of her 105th birthday -- "Remember When."
Employees had given Miss Edith a cake and applause a few minutes earlier -- thanks to the efforts of staff member Darcy Hammonds. Church, 80, gently attended to his mother, feeding her a slice of cake.
Miss Edith's roommate, Doris Woodward, joined them in the lobby.
Miss Doris is legally blind, but tries to help her friend out a bit. She's 91. Myong Kang, a nurse who works with Miss Edith, stopped by to greet her warmly.
For Miss Edith, her life was much about perseverance after her birth in 1909. She grew up in an era of the horse and buggy and no electricity. The Roarin' '20s arrived and passed, and Miss Edith missed all of it.
She attended college for a year and went to work as a secretary. Soon she married, and John was born in 1934. Eighteen months later, Miss Edith's husband abandoned both of them.
"She had to go back to work," Palmer said. "She would listen to soap operas and transcribe them in shorthand to get her skills back."
Miss Edith got a job in Dayton, and her son attended boarding school for kindergarten and first grade. They lived in a residence for single mothers and others who had lost their husbands.
Then Church moved to Logan, Ohio, to live with his great-grandmother. Miss Edith would travel there on weekends, but it got to be too much for her. She had to take off some time and lived with her parents in the country.
After Miss Edith's father died, she moved in with her son and her grandmother and then her mother followed.
"I was in Logan living with my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother," Church said with a rueful smile. "All of them were tough, stern, independent control freaks."
His grandmother and great-grandmother died a few years later, and Church eventually left for college. He went on to earn a masters degree and came to work at the Savannah River Site in 1963.
His mother remained at the old house in Logan for a total of 60 years and always had a cat for company. When Miss Edith was about 70, she married a grocer, a sweet man named Harry Hammon, Church said.
He and his wife brought Miss Edith to Aiken in 2005 to an assisted living facility before moving her to what is now Anchor. Kang, an Aiken resident for 30 years, said she loves Miss Edith.
"She doesn't remember a lot of things," Kang said. "But she recognizes me and will smile. I'll wear bright colors for my uniform, and she'll say, 'That looks good on you,' and that makes me feel so good."
Throughout the small celebration, Church remained by his mother's side. So has Miss Edith kept him feeling younger? He glanced up, surprised and then amused. "No, not really."
Stan Rogers has been singing for 40 years, mostly gospel, as well as country, and some Elvis songs, although "I don't sound like that."
He had heard "Remember When" before, but had never performed it untii Thursday.
"I think God just set it up."
(c)2014 the Aiken Standard (Aiken, S.C.)
Visit the Aiken Standard (Aiken, S.C.) at www.aikenstandard.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services