Hellen Richmond celebrated her 106th birthday on Wednesday, Jan. 5.
She was born in 1916 in Kaleva to John and Magdalena Sedlar.
On Friday, John — the youngest of her children — and his wife, Karlene, visited with Hellen, who is staying at the Sweetwater Creek Adult Foster Care Facility in Branch.
Richmond was the middle child of seven and lived on a farm in Kaleva.
John the youngest of Hellen’s children said he and Hellen took a trip to Kaleva this past summer and see the old family farm, which since has been sold.
“It all looks the same,” she said. “It all looks the same. It hasn’t changed a bit. The neighbors place all look the same.”
On the trip to Kaleva, Richmond said even the chicken coop looked the same and could picture herself as a young girl collecting eggs from the coop.
“The chickens were Plymouth Rock, and I gathered them overnight,” she said.
Richmond remembers her chores on the family’s farm. Collecting the eggs was one of her jobs in the evening. She also collected firewood for the family’s cook stove and the potbelly stove for heat.
Richmond remembers her mother always being busy in the kitchen, she was a good cook and made almost everything from scratch. The family has many fruit trees on the farm and grew an assortment vegetables.
“My mom was a wonderful cook, she was self taught,” she said. “The garden was my mother’s joy.’
She even remembers stomping down the hay to get it into the barn to feed the animals.
She said she was about 14 when the family installed running water in the house for a sink but it was years later before they had an indoor toilet.
Richmond remembers storing potatoes and apples in the basement to try and keep them fresh for as long as possible.
“Apples would last until Christmas, not much longer,” she said.
Richmond said the farm had cattle, horses, pigs, chickens some ducks or geese.
She remembers her mom helping her dad milk the cows.
“They did sell cream,” she said “We had a separator. She would also make her own butter.”
She remembers her mother putting the cream into a 2-quart jar and shaking it.
“It is amazing how quick that turned into butter,” she said.
She talked a little about the family getting a radio and how they would all gather around the potbelly stove and listen, she even remembers when the family got their vehicle, she does not remember the date but she remembers the Model T.
“Having that radio was a treat.”
To warm up during the winter she remembers drinking coffee. She said they didn’t have hot chocolate.
“We were drinking coffee from the time we were born,” she said. “Back then it was not considered something children couldn’t have.”