Last week, a little bird told me about a young woman living at Country Place Senior Living in Canton who is sewing COVID-19 face masks for the ladies and gentlemen at Country Place and for her family and friends.
Thanks to that little bird, I had the pleasure of meeting with COVID-19 mask maker Ollie Davis who turned 102 years old on August 27, 2019. Our meeting took place through the window of her room and we communicated via phone.
At first, I thought this might be difficult, but as it turned out, it was a great interview with a lovely lady. Ollie was sharp as a tack and had we met under different circumstances, we could have talked for hours and ended it with a big hug. We will save that hug for a later date.
Born in Ballinger, Tx. in August of 1917, Ollie came into this world during what many described as the ‘mother of all pandemics,’ the Spanish flu. Ollie said she was too young to remember the Spanish flu, but she did recall the epidemic which killed 675,000 Americans and left hundreds of thousands of children orphaned.
When asked what she thought about the Coronavirus, Mrs. Davis replied “I have never seen anything like this, and I don’t want it to go on much longer. I think the number of people with the virus is going down, but I’m worried that Gov. Abbott might open up the state too early, and the virus will overtake everyone again.” A keen observation from someone with over a century of life-experiences under her belt.
Mrs. Davis was married to her husband, Arthur, for 62 years. Together they had three children, two girls and one boy. Her children now live in Texas and Florida, all in their late 70s and early 80s. She has 19 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Impressive, right?
Ollie is a newcomer to Country Place having moved there in October 2019. She has lived in Van Zandt County for the past 55 years and still has a few family members living nearby. When asked how she likes her new home and family at Country Place, Ollie said “I love it here, but I will be glad when this virus is over. I am getting lazy and I miss my visits from family and friends.” She seemed to be in good spirits considering the new changes in visitation, but she did say it was lonely without her regular visitors.
Ollie has many friends in and around Canton and she said her friends and neighbors should remember her as the lady who cooked and delivered the best banana bread in the county and after spending some time with her, I can guarantee she knows her way around a kitchen.
From what I could tell, sewing is more than just something to keep her busy. It is a way for her to stay active, contribute and provide something useful for others.
Fortunately, she was able to bring her sewing machine with her to Country Place and she hasn’t missed a step since. When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, Ollie put her sewing skills into action for those who needed protection.
With over 60 years of sewing under her belt, she began making COVID-19 face masks in early April. So far, she has sewn over 60 masks and has enough material to last her many months.
On this day, I was blessed to meet Ollie and we are all grateful for her years of service to those in need right here in Van Zandt County. Thank you, Ollie Davis, for setting such a great example for all of us to follow.