Surrounded by friends and family, Mrs. Gladys Sams celebrated her 105th birthday at her home on Sunday, March 11. Born in Dewey Rose, Georgia on March 13, 1913, this centenarian stills lives on her own and devotes all of her time to sewing and making necklaces. "I have to stay busy and this gives me something to do." said Mrs. Sams.
We first introduced Gladys to you last year when she was featured in the Rutherford Weekly following her 104th birthday. At that time, she was busy sewing dresses made from pillow cases, stuffed puppies and other handmade items to be sent around the world for under-privileged children. "She sends most of her dresses through Concord Baptist Church in Bostic, and the Samaritan's Purse-Operation Christmas Child program." reported Bobby Conner, Gladys' grandson. "Nothing makes her happier than to be sewing at her machine, making those pillow case dresses. She knows her talents aren't going to waste, and it really blesses a lot of little girls in other countries." Last year we also learned that Gladys had been an active member of Piedmont Agency on Aging where she served on the Board of Directors, and with the Meals on Wheels program where she, in her late eighties, would jokingly say, "Let's go feed the old people." She moved to North Carolina several years ago to be closer to her grandchildren, but that didn't slow her from her active lifestyle.
Having taken a break from her sewing machine due to a strained muscle, Gladys has continued to make necklaces fashioned out of church bulletins. "You cut them into small triangles," says Gladys, "and then roll them around a tooth pick, adding glue as you go. Once it is dry, remove the toothpick, and you have space for the cord." She plans to start sewing the dresses again once her arm is completely healed.
Incredibly, Ms. Sams has continued in her service to others for many years. Her desire to do 'God's work' through her sewing and crafting have played an important role in her long life. She has been honored for her work on many occasions, but doesn't like to talk about it very much. She's just happy doing what she can and with the knowledge that she's making a difference in some child's life.
Following a traditional 'feast' of BBQ and all their favorite sides, Bobby tells us, "We all enjoyed sharing memories of good times we've had in the past and visiting with each other. After most of the guests left, my grandmother enjoyed showing off her sewing skills to the great-great-niece and nephews that had never seen her in action. Now, they want to come back in the summer for her to show them more."
"My grandmother and her neighbors are looking forward to the warmer weather coming so they can sit on the porch and visit each other. Stan looks out for all the ladies in the cul-de-sac and is continually planting flowers and plants for them, and Jim, the owner of the facility where she resides, really runs a top notch place for the residents in his villas. He really caters to their needs."