By Martha Bowers | Photos By Jessie Shealy & Family
My name is Martha Eoline Hendrix Bowers, born on July 26, 1922 in the Trinity Section of Newberry, SC to Marcus Boyd and Eula Lee Hendrix. I was one of ten children. I attended Silverstreet High School where I played basketball and graduated Valedictorian on May 19, 1939. Afterwards, I went to cosmetology school and married John H. Bowers, Jr. on October 13, 1940 at the Trinity Church Parsonage. My husband was a farmer, and I was a cosmetologist for over 50 years. We were married for 61 years and had three daughters; Loxie B. Hazel (80), Jan B. Piersol (67), and Gaye B. Siler (65).
My husband had begun building our home in Silverstreet, SC when called to serve in the Army, so I, along with help, completed our home and moved in before his return. Most of the wood in our home came off the family farm, and I still live in the home that we built.
At the age of 37, I had a stroke that left me speechless. I stayed at MUSC in Charleston, SC for months, learning how to talk all over again. Family took care of my children and even had to start one of them in school. At 80, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and survived. Again, at the age of 90, I was diagnosed with lung cancer and survived. Dr. John Brown, 76 years old at the time, was my surgeon. I had all the confidence and respect in him and trusted him with my life. Now, at the age of 100, I have been diagnosed with pancreatitis. With all that said, I know who is in control. With my strong faith and love for our Lord and savior, I keep going.
I have been a member of Silverstreet Lutheran Church for over 80 years. I love my church and church family and have been very active in our sweet little country church only a block from my home. I sang in the Church Choir and for weddings, belonged to the women’s organization of the church, and taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Catechism. I belonged to the Home Demonstration, Leisure Club, and also played the piano in a Square Dance Band. I am a self-taught pianist, and had to relearn to play after my stroke.
My husband would always have a cookout on our patio every Saturday night for friends, family, neighbors, etc. Most of the time, he cooked whatever he and his friends had been hunting or fishing for on that day. Many great memories of wonderful times. But no matter what went on that Saturday night, you always attended Sunday School and church on Sunday morning. That was taught to be the most important day of the week. I taught my children to go to church, study the Bible, and love and respect our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My family is my world. I have 9 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. I kept several of my grandchildren until I was 90, and I now see most of my grandchildren and great grandchildren every week. Family is everything to me. We still get together for all holidays at our home in Silverstreet. There are 40 of us now.
We had family vacations to many states in our beautiful country, trying to incorporate education with fun family experiences, but we always did our famous beach trips with family, extended family, and friends. Many fun trips filled with deep sea fishing, card games, beach days, and plenty of good food. I actually went to the beach three times this past summer, the most memorable being for my 100th birthday. All but 5 of my family were there to celebrate.
My home has always been open to others. We always had an extra person staying at our home for one reason or another. The love for family and friends was always taught in my home. God and family first. Always do unto others as you would have others do unto you.