Girl Power

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:59

Sparta - At a time when itchy wool bathing suits were the fashion, the Vanderbilt family was the newsworthy rich and famous, and the automobile was considered a fad, two little girls were born into a forever changing world. It was in 1905 that Blanche Mueller was born. On Sept. 18, Mueller turned 100 years old and recalled stories from her life as if they happened yesterday. As a teenager, she learned to drive in a Model T Ford car. During WW I she made washcloths for the soldiers. She remembers sitting around the family’s radio listening to President Roosevelt give a speech when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and considers the radio to be the most impressive invention in her lifetime. A trailblazer of her time, Mueller received a BA degree in 1925 from Jersey City State College. She taught during the Depression and remembers working for some five months without getting paid. “None of us got paid. We were told there was simply no money to give us. And we never questioned it, we just kept on teaching hoping we’d get paid the next month,” said Mueller. Mueller said she was fortunate to have some income from her husband’s job. “However, when times are hard financially you get creative. I could tell you so many different ways to make Spam,” said the birthday girl. Blanche and her husband, Charles, went on to raise two children, and now have two granddaughters and two great grandchildren. Blanche, who was a teacher for 30 years, went back for her masters degree at age 60. Mueller is not at all surprised by her age because longevity is not uncommon in her family. “I have good genes,” said Mueller. “In fact, when I was a newlywed, my husband asked me about life insurance. I told him ‘trust me, you’ll never need it’ and he didn’t,” said Mueller. Henrietta Bertha Noll Braue was also born in 1905, in Germany and came to the United States in 1921. She attended the Lenox Hill Hospital School of Nursing where she graduated as a Registered Nurse, eventually working as Head Nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC. Married to Charles August Braue in 1930, the couple relocated from Manhattan to New Jersey to raise their three sons. Widowed in 1950, Henrietta became the sole provider for her three young sons. Working various types of nursing jobs she managed to send all three boys to private colleges. During a recent interview, Henny, as she’s known to most, recalled a Sunday afternoon car trip with her husband, “way out” to Sparta to visit the Crane Company’s new dam and to see the lots available on the new Lake Mohawk. Years later, in 1967, Henrietta retired and bought what is now her current home, and has called Sparta home ever since. Henny retired to Sparta for a life of gardening, antiques, and bridge playing. She has an active career in volunteer work for various organizations, which include The United Methodist Church of Sparta, the Samaritan Inn shelter for abused families, and the Karen Anne Quinlan Hospice. Henny is a volunteer at Knoll Heights Senior Center and was on the original committee to explore the concept of senior housing in Sparta. She was instrumental in helping to get the senior at Knoll Heights build working on the Sparta Ecumenical Council of Churches for the founding of Knoll Heights. “I like people and did a lot of volunteer work. You’ve got to keep yourself in a good frame of mind and push the negative under the table and just enjoy your life,” said Henny. Henny’s recipe for a long life is simple: Eat three square meals a day and take naps. “I also have a glass of scotch everyday. So I guess I’m well preserved!”