Moncrief recalls life lessons on 100th birthday

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, September 29, 2011

Allie Mae Markham Moncrief turns 100Thursday, and her sharp mind and aptitude for telling stories showno signs of diminishing with age.

    “I’m still kickin’,” she said as she came from down the hall to theliving room of her house in Brookhaven.

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    Moncrief recalled the story her father used to tell her before hedied, the story of her birth. It took place in nearby Caseyvillewhere her mother and father worked to provide for their daughter,son and Allie Mae, who was on the way.

    “It was a Friday evening,” Moncrief said. “My father worked on afarm a few miles down from our house. And my mother told my oldersister and brother to go take him a note that I was on theway.”

    Her father returned as quickly as he could to their house to findhis wife in the midst of labor.

    “So then he had to get on the mule and ride to get the midwife,”Moncrief continued. “When they got back, me and Mama were sittingon the floor waiting for them.”

    Moncrief had six siblings altogether, a set of twins and two otherswho came after her, and she is the last remaining.

    “I’ve gotten the farthest in my family,” she said.

    Moncrief went to school at Alexander High School and moved to NewOrleans after that, at which point she married her firsthusband.

    However, she learned that he had become unfaithful, and Moncrieflearned one of her many life lessons.

    “When you have problems and you keep them to yourself, you won’thave any help,” she said.

    She explained she knew some people from Ohio, and who helped herout of the situation.

    “He left for work one day, and by the time he got home, I was on atrain halfway to Chicago,” she said with a laugh.

    She lived in Youngstown, Ohio, from 1944 to 1977. She took theinsurance license test and said she passed with the highest scorein her class.

    She sold life insurance for several years and met her futurehusband.

    “When I met him, I wasn’t looking for no husband,” she said. “Butthe Lord said that he is for me, and that we should build a housetogether.”

    As her husband retired, they moved to his hometown of Montgomery,Ala., until he died in 1980. After that, she returned to Brookhavento be closer to family.

    She has attended St. Paul Baptist Church, and now has communionbrought to her once a month, since her age keeps her from going,she said.

    Moncrief likes to walk for a little exercise and water her nephewJames Earl Diggs Sr.’s garden when he is away. Diggs is helping toplan for a party Sunday at the church for Moncrief.

    “Her favorite is dumplins,” he said. “And there will be dumplins,and potato salad, dressing. We’ll have the choir singing songs. Andthere’s supposed to be 100 people there. One hundred people for her100th birthday.”

    Moncrief said the most valuable things she has learned are from theBible.

    “The Lord has been present in my life,” she said. “With Him, aslong as you try, you can get somewhere. And you should treat peoplehow you would want them to treat you.”