At 100 years old, Ina K. Labrier has witnessed some of the biggest events in contemporary American history.
Photo by Jeremy Charles
Ina K. Labrier is a centenarian. She lives in a home on a working ranch that her late husband ran for more than 40 years. Labrier has born witness to many of the significant events and advancements in the past century, including the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and the first man landing on the moon. Labrier has one daughter, three grandsons and seven great-grandchildren.
I was born on August 29, 1912, in Wylie, Colorado. I moved to Oklahoma in 1938 with my husband, Ross. He ran The 101 Ranch in Kenton. I still live on the ranch, and my daughter (Jane) lives beside me.
The Depression hit as I graduated from school. I went to college for one year – back then when you went to one year of college you could teach – and I taught country school for seven years. I made $75 a month. We used my money to buy gas and to pay for daddy’s water to irrigate the fields. Mother raised chickens for their eggs, and we had milk cows, so we used the eggs and milk to buy groceries. During the Dust Bowl, I would drive five or six miles to school to teach; some days the dust would be so bad that I couldn’t see the road, it was so dark.
Lots of things have happened in my lifetime, so many that sometimes I forgot about them afterwards. When I was 2 years old, my family got our first car. Then when I was in the first grade, they turned us out of school to go outside to see an airplane go by. When man landed on the moon (in 1969) we listened to the radio all morning. We didn’t have a TV until about 30 years ago, just before my husband died. Now we have paved roads, but before that we couldn’t go out to feed the cattle when it was stormy and muddy. Back then, when we fed the cattle, we would have to scatter the feed from a truck. Now all you do is push a button and the feed goes into the feeder. That’s quite a difference in how we did it back then and how we do it now.
I think the outdoors, the fresh air and the food we eat gives us a longer life. My daughter has a beautiful garden this year, and we’ve been eating everything you can think of: green beans, squash, cucumbers, a little bit of lettuce. I read a lot, and I used to sew lots, but my hands won’t let me sew anymore. I also spend a lot of time with my family.