Sandra K. Gorin,
Gorin Genealogical Publishing
Volume 2 of Barren's Black
Roots, Michelle Gorin Burris, (c) Aug 1992). By permission of the
The Fullness of Life
By Lucy Albright, unknown newspaper, likely written
in the 1960-1970ís.
Elma Martin Pipkin observed her 90th birthday anniversary
21, at her home in Monroe county near Gamaliel. She lives alone,
where for the past two years she has spent her days in a wheel
chair. She does not known [sic] the cause of her infirmity, but says
that her feet just gave out on her and other than that her general
health is good.
Mrs. Pipkin is a retired school
teacher, having taught in the schools in Monroe county for 42 years
before retirement. She taught at Turkey-Neck bend, Tompkinsville,
Gamaliel, Bethlehem, Tooley Ridge, Forkton and White Oak Ridge, near
Fountain Run, where she says the enrollment was the largest of any
school she taught. She thinks all of her pupils who attended there
are dead with the exception of one.
Her late husband, Roscoe Pipkin, was
also a school teacher and retired after teaching for 52 years. She
was seven years younger than her husband but, when he retired, she
chose to retire at the same time and stay at home. They never had
any children. He died fourteen years ago.
Mrs. Pipkin says she loved teaching
and she was a dedicated teacher. Her formal education was two
semesters of high school, which he attained at Glasgow in addition
to the eight grades, but she is innately intelligent, and had a
natural gift of teaching children. She does not recall when she
learned the Multiplication Table, as it seems she always knew it.
She was a firm believer in discipline
in the school room and was of the opinion that schools were for the
prime purpose for children to learn. Too many extra school
activities, Mrs. Pipkin believes, interferes with a child attaining
an education. She does not answer to the school situation. She
rather thinks that equal but separate schools for the black and
white races would be more preferable. She thinks that each race of
people should stay within its own race and work for its betterment
and advancement. However she has lived at the same location on
highway 100 for seventy years and her neighbors have in most part
been white people and they have been and continue to be friends.
After Mrs. Pipkin became confined to
a wheel chair, she purchased a trailer and placed it in her yard,
near her home, where Mr. and Mrs. Moore and their son live. Mr.
Moore and the son tend her land and Mrs. Moore aids Mrs. Pipkin with
things she can not do for herself and she says it is a most
satisfactory arrangement. She spends her days alone, but not lonely,
as it seems some one calls to see her each day, and she enjoys her
T. C., and daily newspaper (though her eyesight is not as good as it
She particularly delights in reading
the Bible, and she has one in large print. She is a member of the
Church of Christ and since she is not able to attend services, an
elder from the Tompkinsville Church of Christ visits her each Sunday
for a little service and observance of the Lordís Supper.
Mrs. Pipkin has no gripes with life,
and points out that Christ never complained. She says she never
worries, she just lives one day at a time, and leaves things in the
hands of the Lord.
She attributed her longevity to
obeying her mother and trying to live right. Her mind is very alert,
her hearing is excellent, her appetite is good. She has a sense of
humor, and enjoys a good laugh, and it appears she is well on the
road toward the centenarian mark.
Her mother, Mrs. Elsie Lankford,
lived four months beyond her one hundredth birthday. She was born in
1859 six years before Emancipation came to her race. She was a good
practical nurse, and her services wee much in demand, particularly
in the care of babies. She was thrice married, and a short time
before she reached a hundred, she remarked that if she could find a
nice old gentleman, she would marry again, adopt some children and
raise them like children should be raised.
Ms. Pipkin is a most admirable credit
to her people. She has lived a full, useful happy life, and she is
spending her golden years in a most exemplary manner.