CRIMORA — A Crimora woman celebrated her 100th birthday this weekend. To commemorate, Ioda Wagoner Edwards Benson not only had a party, but also thought back on her life.
“I was the seventh child born on the seventh month of the seventh day,” Benson said of celebrating her 100th birthday on Sunday.
She was originally from North Carolina.
“During World War II, my husband’s first job in Virginia was the Crimora mines,” she said of what brought them to the area.
She has four kids, 10 living grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
“My favorite memory … I have quite a few,” Benson said. “One of the special memories would have been my first grandchild. I have quite a few wonderful memories.”
Benson was married to her first husband for 54 years; he passed away. Later, she remarried. He has since passed as well.
“I’ve had a good life — I can’t complain,” she said. “I’ve had ups and downs, but I had two good husbands. It was wonderful life; quite different to what things are today.”
Benson thought back on neighborhood games with other children, her brother rolling her down the hill into a swimming pool and other times. She spoke of them having no electricity, a wall phone that called a 10-mile radius and of riding a horse and buggy to church 3 miles in the country.
She also spoke of how she became a Christian as a child.
“It was a hot summer — just like now,” she said. “Daddy planted a garden. It was dry, everything was burning up. I was always right behind Daddy, everything he did.”
Benson remembered her dad leaning against the fence and talking to God about rain.
“I thought we were going to starve to death, I was only 5 years old,” she said. “I went inside and I started crying to God to send rain. I fell asleep. The house had a tin roof. When I woke up, a hard thunderstorm was hitting that roof. I started to thank God for answering my prayers. He heard them that time and he’ll hear them again. That’s how God gave me faith in prayer.”
For hobbies, Benson enjoys gardening, flowers and even crafted a few lamps that still sit in her living room. She can also play the organ and banjo.
She couldn’t believe she was 100.
“It’s just something that somebody else said — there’s no way I can be 100 years old,” Benson said. “If somebody told me I’d live to be 100, I’d laugh at them and would have told them they’re crazy.”
Benson had advice for others through life.
“Be truthful and honest and trust in the Lord,” she said.