ST. PETERSBURG – On February 12, 1917, in a little town called Millen, Ga., there was excitement in the Flournoy family because of the arrival of a cute little cuddly baby girl named Arrie. Born the seventh of 11 children to sharecropper Saul Flournoy and wife Ella Sapp, her genetic ancestry, according to African Ancestry, the PatriClan ™ identifies her with the Ibo people in Nigeria and the Mbundu People in Angola.
So much was different then than now. One could buy a gallon of milk for 36 cents. Today that same gallon, of course with many more additives, will cost you four bucks. Not many families had cars, but those who did bought gasoline for 16 cents a gallon. Today, you can’t drive around the corner with that amount.
With two cents in 1917, you could mail a letter. Seven cents got you a ticket to the movie theater, and for eight cents the family had a loaf of bread. Twenty- two years later, the average price for a new car was $700. Oh, how times have changed and Arrie Mae Holmes has lived 100 years to tell the story.
“I guess times may have been hard but we didn’t know it. We had chores to do and we did them,” stated Arrie. “My mother used to carry buckets of water from the well to the house and I was right there along the side of her. We needed the water to cook and wash with, so we needed to have it. Them buckets got heavy, but there was no time to complain. You just did the work until it was quitting time.”
Arrie is clothed with strength and dignity and spends time rejoicing as outlined in the Proverbial woman.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed.
And so did the other 150 people who packed into Lake Vista Recreational Center on Saturday to honor and celebrate Arrie for 100 wonderful years of being virtuous. Family and friends flew and drove from New York, Michigan, Washington, DC, Georgia and other parts of Florida to be a part of this historical occasion.
“My grandmother is the most significant woman in my life and I would not have missed the opportunity to celebrate her for nothing in the world,” said Vincent Hopkins from the nation’s capital. “God has truly manifested himself through her to me. We all came to honor her for many different reasons because she has blessed so many people in so many different ways.”
One granddaughter came from Atlanta and credits her grandmother for imparting confidence in her to be bold and face challenges head on. Those challenges led Marlo Hampton to a frequent role on the television show “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” She is a style expert, executive producer and television personality, but nothing stands in the way of honoring grandma.
“When you love someone, it’s easy to make time for them,” said Hampton. “She is an amazing woman. Pink is her favorite color, so that’s why you see the décor as such. It represents her being fabulous and glamorous. That’s who she is.”
Arrie said her key to a good life is to work eight hours and then rest for eight hours. She states that you can’t work two jobs on one body and you can’t work all day and then play all night. Your body must have rest.
There was as much excitement in St. Pete celebrating Arrie’s 100th birthday as there was in Millen, Ga., celebrating her birth. Although much has changed over time, the one thing that remains the same is that Arrie Mae Holmes is loved by many people. They showed up and made her 100th birthday all the more wonderful.