On July 4, 1912, the country celebrated Independence Day by proclaiming the new 48-star flag as the official symbol of the United States. The date was also memorable for a train crash near Corning, N.Y., in which 41 people were killed. Three days later, escape artist Harry Houdini stunned the world by emerging unhindered from New York City’s East River after being bound by shackles and confined in an underwater grave.
Since those days, the Russian Revolution, two World Wars, commercial radio, television and the internet have all come to pass. And one Scottdale resident, Mattie Ruth Little, has lived through it all. Little turned 100 years old on July 4, 2012 – a milestone marked by more than 100 relatives and friends July 8 at a Lithonia events center.
Among her greatest accomplishments was raising 10 children. “Everything was fun all the time, just fond memories,” said son Harold Little, 71, recalling his upbringing.
Asked how his mother managed to run such a crowded household, Grady Little, 69, remembered a “strict disciplinarian” who “ruled with an iron fist” when necessary. “That’s the reason we are who we are today,” he said.
Mattie Ruth Little remains visible in the Scottdale community and actively practices her faith – a trait shared by her children. Friends and relatives consistently noted her sense of humor when paying tribute at Sunday’s celebration, with one younger relative joking that she is frequently asked if she can accompany her clubbing.
Little’s long list of descendants includes eight remaining children, 26 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren. Many took the opportunity to share anecdotes with attendees, who traveled from as far as New York to join the celebration.
“I’m just proud to have so many children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren,” she said.
A full-spirited Little was also happy to offer advice, taken from a century of life. “Be good, do right, love everybody—and whether they love you or not, love them just the same,” she said. “If they don’t love you, that’s their problem. If you do love them, God notices.”