Hannah looks back on 93 years

Linwood native Miss Amy May Hannah was full of grace and good humor as she posed for this portrait on her 93rd birthday. “Just call me plain Amy May,” she said. L.D. Bennett photo

Laura Dean Bennett
Staff Writer

I was privileged to speak with Miss Amy May Hannah on the occasion of her 93rd birthday last Wednesday.

She couldn’t have been more gracious when she invited me to sit down and visit with her.

I asked if I should call her Miss or Ms., as she’d lived all her life as an unmarried lady.

“Just call me plain Amy May,” she replied.

I felt immediately at home with her as she told me a little bit about her life.

Amy May was born in Linwood.

She and her brother and sister grew up on their family’s 300 acre farm.

“We had cattle and sheep, and we raised turkeys and chickens,” she said. “And, of course, we had a big garden.”

Her dad died at a quite young age – in his 30s – when Amy May was just eight years old.

“My mom had three kids to raise and that big farm to run. She worked like a dog,” she recalled.

“She ran that farm, and she worked right along with the hired hands.

“We kids had lots of chores to do. There’s always something to do on a farm – always more work than you can do.

“The only time we could rest was when we were sleeping.

“And during lambing and calving season, we could hardly even sleep, some nights.

“We had to be so careful to take care of the stock – all the animals – if you don’t take care of them, you don’t have an income,” Amy May explained.

“We butchered hogs and chickens, and we helped my mom with the canning.

“She canned everything from the garden. That’s what we ate. Whatever we could grow.”

Amy May told me that she and her sister, Faye, went to Washington, D.C. to go to cosmetology school.

Amy May worked in cosmetology there in N.E. Washington for four or five years.

“I wanted to come home,” she said.

“I didn’t like the city very much, and I knew I was needed at home, so I came back and lived with my mother and brother and helped out on the farm.”

I asked if she was good at doing hair.

“Well I guess so,” she said, smiling.

“Back then, you didn’t need a license. But I was pretty good.”

“I did haircuts and hairstyles and lots and lots of ‘Tony’s – that’s what permanents were called back then.”

And, for a time, Amy May lived in Marlinton.

“I got a job at the farm store, then a job at Foodland as a clerk,” she said.

“I worked there for many years.

“It was a long drive back and forth to Linwood for me, so it was easier to live in town.”

Amy May confided that she is “getting old and white-headed,” and that she’s quite ready to “go home” to be with the Lord.
“I’ve always loved God,” she said.

She was a longtime member of Big Spring Presbyterian Church, but, more recently, has been a member of Marlinton Presbyterian Church.

Amy May has this bit of advice for young people:

“Love God and worship Him,” she said.

By this time, Amy May and I had exchanged enough about ourselves that I felt bold enough to tell her that I had heard that she was reputed to tell a funny story about why she had remained an unmarried lady all her life.

Amy May protested a bit, but I convinced her to share the story with me and our readers.

And the story goes like this…

“I didn’t need to be married because I had a cat that stayed out all night.

“I had a dog that barked, and a bird that cussed.

“Why would I need a man?”

I burst out laughing and I could only say to her – ‘Miss Amy May Hannah, I’ll say two things about you – you are a lovely lady and you can tell one heck of a good story!’

I feel privileged that I got to visit Miss Amy May on her 93rd birthday.

We had such a good time together.

Amy May is now a resident at Pocahontas Center, where she was treated to a birthday celebration on her special day.

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