Homeland resident Sadie Hawkins: 106 and going strong


Sadie Hawkins was commuting between home and work when her doctor issued a warning. If she kept riding the train back and forth every day, she wouldn’t last long, he said.

In October, Sadie turned 106 years old.

“He died, and I’m still here,” she says.

The day after her 106th birthday, Homeland Center arranged a Zoom call with her family. They talked about her life steeped in faith. During the call, Sadie showed her spot-on sense of humor while sharing her thoughts on the excellent care she’s getting at Homeland – especially the enjoyable meals.

“They give you enough to eat,” she says. “Oh, my goodness, yes.”

Sadie has seen the world, but her heart belongs to her native Pennsylvania, where she has lived most of her life. For a time, her father was a coal miner. With five children, things weren’t always easy, but the family managed. When the Great Depression arrived, they got by.

“I remember people were hungry, but I wasn’t,” she says.

World War II interrupted young adulthood. Sadie’s two brothers went to war. One died in a naval battle, and the other endured captivity as a Japanese POW. Sadie became a clerk for the U.S. government to do her part.

“I never graduated from high school, but I went to a business school for 10 months to get my education,” she says. “That got me into the business. Otherwise, I’d have been out of luck. I didn’t have a college education, but I could add and subtract.”

She loved her work and enjoyed a long career in government. Over her long life, Sadie has seen society change completely. She’s no fan of technology, especially the cellphones and screens that dominate today’s world.

Asked if life is better with or without technology, she has a ready answer.

“Without, because people don’t appreciate the little things in life.” Sadie once told her nurses that she walked 100 steps a day, and when they asked if she got the number from a Fitbit, she said, ‘No, I just counted my steps!’”

Life took a new turn days after her 90th birthday when Sadie married her longtime companion, Orville Hawkins. He died only one year later, but they enjoyed excursions and family visits in their travel trailer in their time together.

Homeland has been very lovely, Sadie says.

“Everyone is really great,’’ she says of the staff. “They take care of you. Anything you want done; they’ll do. They’re a great bunch of people. They work hard.”

Sadie’s birthdays are always a cause for celebration. Because of COVID restrictions, last year, friends and family held a drive-by party. This year, the party moved to Homeland’s porch.

As for all that good Homeland food, she recalls one particular meal.

“It was filled with macaroni and cheese, ice cream and cherry pie,” she says. “It was good, but I couldn’t eat all of it.”

Then again, she admits: “later on, I got some more ice cream.”

She spends her days reading, especially the Bible.

“I’m a Catholic, but I go to any church that is near,” she says. “I’m sure the good Lord is not going to ask, ‘Are you a Catholic, or are you a Protestant?’”

Friends and family call and send presents. A niece recently set a bottle of her favorite perfume – the classic Estee Lauder Beautiful.

“It really smells nice,” she says. “I’ve used that scent for years. Some men have stopped me and asked me what I’m wearing. Sometimes, people don’t tell you what they’re wearing, but I like it, and so I’ll let anybody know who asks.”

As for the secret of living to 106, “the good Lord figures out everything,” she says

“It’s Him or nobody. I don’t know who else could do the things that He does for people. When I broke my hip, and they said I wasn’t going to make it, I thought to myself, ‘Well, we’ll just let it fall on Him and do what He has to do.’ And here I am.”