Laura Titera, Charis Assisted Living
Kenai, Alaska. 1916 to 2016
We recently had the honor of attending the 100th birthday of a pretty little lady, Laura Titera at Charis Assisted Living. It was a grand celebration, full of fun, laughter and tears. Laura smiled continually! She is the mother of King Titera. Below is the article lovingly written by daughter-in-law, Bernie Titera. She sums up the life of Laura. Thank you Bernie for sharing!
Happy Birthday and Congratulations to you Laura as we celebrate your 100th Birthday!
Laura Lucy Titera was born on her father’s farm outside of a small town in northern Wisconsin. This took place on September 25th 1916. It was hard times at the start of World War 1 with many people doing what they could to make a living and surviving. Things like having a large garden, canning, hunting for meat, making clothes to wear, cutting and chopping firewood, living by oil lamps, using an outdoor toilet and doing your field work with a team of work horses were all very normal happenings.
As Laura learned these life skills from her parents she also attended school. Her school was called “Riverside School”. It was a one room country school with only one teacher who taught grades 1-8. Her old school house is now over 100 years old and is considered an historic building.
Growing up on her Dads farm Laura had many jobs one of which was helping her Mom tend the chicken incubator. All 400 fertilized eggs were marked with an X by Laura’s Mom. All 400 eggs needed to be turned twice a day. Laura turned those eggs faithfully anticipating the delicious fried chicken dinners her Mom would make.
While growing up in Wisconsin on a family farm was a ton of work, it was also a ton of fun! Laura and her siblings fished & hunted with their Dad through the summer & fall. Sledding in the snowy winters was always a delight. As an adult, Laura (at age 90) continued to invite younger folks to go tobogganing with her. Her son, King recalls sledding down a big hill in the fresh powdery snow. Laura asked him to guide the sled as she pushed off and jumped on. Off they went down the big hill with King in the front guiding the sled through the powdery snow. When they got to the bottom of the hill he was covered with snow. It was packed under his glasses and down his jacket, even up his sleeves. He looked every bit like a snowman. They still laugh today thinking about it.
Laura and Fred (her husband) moved to the farm after Laura’s folks passed. They didn’t actively farm, but built fences and cleared trees making the area prime hunting grounds for friends and family. They posted it with NO TRESPASSING signs to keep other hunters out.
Hunting in the woods can sometimes get you turned around, kind of lost and disoriented. One time Laura went hunting with her husband Fred and Uncle John. They asked Laura to flush the deer out of the woods as they waited ready to shoot the deer as it ran out of the woods. There were no tracks on the ground after the fresh snow fall. Laura started into the woods to flush out the deer and came upon some fresh human foot prints. Thinking that it was a trespasser, she went charging along following the foot prints thinking she would give them a piece of her mind when she caught up with them. A short time later she came upon a second set of foot prints in the fresh snow joining the first set of foot prints. Now she was chasing TWO trespassers! A short time later she came upon THREE sets of foot prints all walking together in the same direction! She was FURIOUS by this time thinking “Don’t people read signs?? Why are they on our property?? Then she heard a voice call out… it was Uncle John. He yelled; “Laura, you better come out of there. This is your third time around. ..I think you are lost!” He was watching her walk around in circles chasing her own tracks through the woods. This story is much better told by Laura. She has told it with delight many times over card games and coffee.
Laura loved hunting. She became a crack shot, always coming out of the woods with a buck. In Wisconsin the hunting season is in November. The temperatures are below freezing so you have to be a hardy soul to go out there to hunt. Laura at age 91, was staked out in her favorite hunting blind when a beautiful buck came out of the woods. As the buck looked in her direction she squeezed off a shot. “SNAP” a misfire! As fate would have it the gun misfired sending the buck off into the woods with a flick of its tail. Lesson learned: Always check your gun over before going hunting or you too may have a broken firing pin. For Laura hunting was always fun, even when you have a misfire.
The farm had many brush piles left over from when it was logged off. Laura enjoyed going on daily walks through the woods always caring a walking stick. One winter day as she walked along she poked her walking stick into the brush piles. She decided to take a closer look at what she hit in the brush. It turned out to be a hibernating black bear that was looking back at her through the branches! IT WAS LOOKING HER RIGHT IN THE EYE! Thank goodness it was too drowsy to get up and do mischief. She went back checking on that bear daily until the spring day it woke up and came to her house to visit her and eat out of her bird feeders on the porch! Now that old bear didn’t scare Laura a bit. She shooed it off the porch by waving her broom and hooting at it. After that bear came to visit, she took the bird feeders off her porch.
Laura and Fred (husband and love of her life) had a pool table in the family room where they challenged each other with a daily pool game. The title “TOP DOG” was given to the winner of the day. Many a day Laura held the coveted title. Laura is a great pool player and was an active member of the local ladies pool team.
Laura grew up listening to music. She loves to listen to polka music and not too long ago danced to the “Button Box Gang” at King and my anniversary party. If you ever saw someone who loves to dance, it’s Laura. She loves to waltz and polka. I think she fell in love with Fred because he was such a great dancer. They would go out to local dance halls nearly every weekend dancing till dawn. Her love of music and natural rhythm led Laura to learn to play the accordion by ear. She plays it to date for those who are lucky enough to catch her with her accordion in her arms.
The past 5 years has found Laura putting together jigsaw puzzles. She has an album with pictures of many of the difficult puzzles she has put together. Laura decoupaged and framed one of the puzzles she finished. It was a very difficult puzzle that she was proud to have finished at age 98. You can see it hanging on her wall today.
Her working career includes 24 years of long days and hard work as a house wife and dairy farmer, working as hotel clerk, sewing on an assembly line making pants, sewing in a moccasin factory and helping Fred raise 6 kids.
Her coffee pot was always on and fresh baked goods at ready for company to stop in to pass the time of day. She is a great card player. One of her favorite card games is “Kings in the Corner”
Laura’s life has spanned a century and she has seen many changes in this world. Laura, the world is a better place because you are in it. You are a very interesting person and we wish you the best.
Your 100th Birthday is an extraordinary accomplishment and you are an extraordinary person. We are blessed to have you in our lives and hope your special day was filled with all the celebration and love you deserve.
(Writen by Bernie Titera)
Thank you so much Bernie!
The series is written by a 49 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook.
She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.
Grannie Annie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at M & M Market in Nikiski.