"Don't worry. Don't complain." Words Lawrence Green lives by and perhaps the secret to him living to be 100 years old.
Green was born the same year, 1912, that The Versailles Republican was advertising high school text books for as little as .45 cents apiece. His parents, John and Anna were from rural Cross Plains.
Green told The Versailles Republican he feels good and enjoys everyday of his life. "There's no reason to complain, because someone else is worse off than you are!" he noted. He has a positive attitude and says worry is something he never does. "It doesn't do any good any way," he noted.
Things have changed a lot in the century Green has lived. He's had a full life with no regrets with this motto: faith first, his family second, and his beloved Lions third.
When people are in disbelief about older people's comments of walking to school miles in the snow and rain, it's true! Green reports he walked a mile from his home to school and back every single day. "I had to drive to Versailles High School to finish because Cross Plains only went so far," he noted. He drove a Chevy Coupe the last two years of school and was among the 18 graduating class of 1930.
When some friends encouraged him to go to Anderson to get a job at the GM Plant, he went. He made 60 cents an hour and only had to pay $1.50 a week for room and board including meals.
He remembers taking his mother, aunt and uncle to Nebraska in 1931 with only a $10 bill for gas. "Of course, gas was only 15 or 16 cents a gallon back then," he laughed.
In April of 1938 Green married Mari Jo Maxwell. His dad also had plans for him. "'I've got something for you to do'," my dad told me. His dad had bought a farm just south of Versailles and Green said he and his wife moved to the farm on Labor Day of 1938 where they raised two sons: David, who came first in 1940 and then John in 1942. They also had a full running farm complete with livestock and grain.
David married Ruth Lafary and they have three children: Stephanie and (Mike) Baker of Milan; Angela Green of Indianapolis; and David (Fritz) Green of Greenwood.
John married Phyllis Hoeferkamp and they have two daughters: Michelle Steinback and Natalie Pfister, both of Cincinnati.
Green is proud of all of his family and told The Versailles Republican that he has five grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. When it looked like he was only going to have 12, he commented to a few, he'd really like to have a "baker's dozen". Then he got two more.
Green talked aboaut his faith next. He was confirmed in 1926 into the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Olean. He served in the church with the same zest for life he exhibited in everything he did. He served in many capacities over the years and remains a member there today.
When the area businesmen gathered to start a Versailles Lions Club, Green was in the middle. He learned what the club was about and decided he wanted to be in on the ground floor. He was. He is a charter member and said he had perfect attendance at their twice a month meetings for 50 years. He has been a member for 57 years. Not only was he a member, he was an active member, working alongside his fellow Lions for the good of the community. He was awarded the WP Woods award, a prestigious award through the Lions Club.
"Everything revolved around the Lions Club," noted his son, David. He said they knew what night it was because his father would begin closing farming operations down early and begin to get ready to go to town. It was a Lions meeting night!
Green also was the county president of Farm Bureau, where he was also the county chairman, and served on the board of directors for many years. He worked in a government office in Versailles and was actually there when an Army representative came and put a lock on the filing cabinet with the recorded deeds of those who owned property in the Jefferson Proving Ground.
He was on the board of directors for the Bank of Versailles, which eventually became MainSource, for several years, and was just that all around good community servant that makes a community what it should be.
When asked what has been the best part of his 100 years, Green closed his eyes for a moment and then replied with a twinkle in his eye, "It has to be the fact that I have hundreds more friends now," and, he added, "everybody calls me by name."
Green will be 100 on September 10. His family is compiling a scrapbook and have asked the community to join them in sending greetings to him. You can send a personal card or greeting to him at 1200 Whitlatch Way, Milan, 47031, at Ripley Crossing, where he now makes his home. If you have a story you would like to share in the family scrapbook, please send it to Stephanie Baker at 7414 E CR 200N, Milan, IN 47031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Lawrence Green is pictured in front of the fireplace at Ripley Crossing where he enjoys sitting a lot of the time. He said he also sits by the door sometimes and they affectionately call him the "guard". He enjoys life, never worries or complains and says maybe that is the secret to a long life! He will celebrate his 100th birthday on September 10, 2012.