Newest card shark is an inspiration to young people

Lucy Windor shares 99 years of life lessons
By Dan Aznoff | Apr 19, 2019
Photo by: Dan Aznoff The energetic 99-year-old Lucy Windor keeps a steady hand on her cards and an eye on her walker when she visits the Mill Creek Senior Center to play cards every Wednesday. Lucy grew up on a farm near Yakima and lived east of the Cascades until only a few years ago when she moved in with her daughter in Mill Creek. She loves to entertain people at the center with stories of living through The Great Depression and attending school in a one-room schoolhouse near Wapato.

The weekly pinochle game at the Mill Creek Senior Center has evolved into two hours of admiration and acclamation for the intense player who has captured the hearts of every participant around the tables.

Not for something she has done. But for something she will accomplish in four short months.Lucy Windor plans to be in her usual seat this September when she turns 100 years old.

Born in Wapato on Sept. 9, 1919, the spry nonagenarian will gladly share her experiences of living through two world wars and The Great Depression to those around the card table. It is just part of the wisdom, she said, that comes with being the mother of three, the grandmother of seven, the great-grandmother of four and the great-great-grandmother of two “really great kids with one more on the way.”

Her family moved from their farm near Yakima to a home in Raymond, Washington, in the depths of The Great Depression so her father could find work.

Lucy remembers he was prepared to do whatever it took to take care of his family. It was in his genes, she said. Her father’s father fled the Dust Bowl with his family to establish new roots in Washington not long after the territory became a state in 1889.

The family cat imprinted some wonderful memories for Lucy during the time he lived with the family. Lucy said her father thought that dogs and cats should remain outside, so she was forced to sneak the cat in to be with her every night. The feline slept by her feet until her father caught the animal in the house and threw it outside.

“That didn’t last long,” Lucy said. “The only problem was the cat would sneak out of my bed so she could curl up in front of the wood-burning stove on cold nights.”

Windor can still remember vivid details from her time in the one-room schoolhouse with seven or eight students from three grades and only one teacher. She still smiles about the bumps and bruises she endured from the nine-mile trip her father had to make on bumpy rural roads to get to school every morning.

The town they lived in, she said, was “nothing more than a wide spot in the road” until after World War II. She said girls did not wear blue jeans to school like kids do today, and she did not have more than one dress nice enough to wear.

“We wore what we had,” she remembered.  “People today like to complain that things are so hard. They don’t know how hard life can be.”

Her family may not have been wealthy, but she remembers they always had plenty to eat, especially beef from the cattle her father raised for market.

“We ate a lot of steaks,” Lucy said proudly. “It was the vegetables that were scarce. We did not know there was another way.”

Her graduating class from Wapato High School in 1937 had only 80 students, she said, due to the fact many of the older students were forced to quit school to work on their family farms during the mid-1930s.

“Girls were not always expected to continue with their education past that point, either,” she said. “My father certainly did not expect me to stay in school as long as I did.”

Not all the students who wanted to attend high school were able to stay in school, she recalled, because the state required students to pass a test after 8th grade before they were allowed to enter high school.

“To me, high school was more of a privilege you were required to earn, not something that every student just received automatically,” Windor said. “High school meant dances, learning to play an instrument, the chance to play in the band, and to learn about the great, big, wide world outside of our tiny little community.”

Wapato High School was also where Lucy met the love of her life, Merle. The sweethearts were married the year they graduated, and were together for 63 years before Merle passed away.

“Neither of us ever had a desire to be with anybody else,” she said in a serious tone.

Dedication apparently runs in the family genes. Lucy’s youngest son, Dean, spent 43 years as an educator in Portland, retiring as a principal. Their son Dennis was a coach in Oregon for many years.

It was only two-and-one-half years ago that Lucy agreed to move west of the Cascade Mountains to live with her daughter. Her latest move has been to a daybed that she shares in a bedroom with one or two of her great-grandchildren.

“It’s a blessing.”









Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.