MUNCY - Dorothy Story will turn 102 years old on Feb. 27, 2012.
The Canton native and longtime Muncy resident sees nothing remarkable in living such a long life.
"I'm just lucky, I guess," said Story, a resident of the Muncy Valley Hospital Skilled Nursing Unit.
Dorothy Mason was born Feb. 27, 1910. She grew up on her family's farm, a property that still is in the family, owned today by a great-great-nephew.
"We raised chickens, sold eggs, churned butter," Dorothy said. "My sister and I got the cows in at night and my father let them out in the morning.
"We helped in the hay fields - we played around," Dorothy said. "We helped milk the cows. There were 10 - there wasn't room for anymore."
The family farm had some apple trees. Her father made cider in a backyard press, but the drink wasn't for children.
"They were the sort of spy apples you can't find anymore," said Dorothy's daughter, Florence McCarty, Muncy.
"We took the horse and buggy to school, or we walked the three miles," Dorothy said. The horse went into the stable for the day and awaited the children and their return trip home over dirt roads.
"I was 15 before my father got a car," Dorothy said. "Second-hand, of course. It was a Studebaker, open door. I was almost 16 when I learned to drive."
She laughed, remembering getting her first driver's license: "(My father) took me to the courthouse and said 'pass her!' "
Even after the Mason family owned a car, winter weather didn't always let them drive.
"They still hooked the horse onto a sleigh when it snowed," said her son, Phillip Story, Muncy.
The farmhouse had a telephone in those party line days. If one was feeling gossipy or mischievous, conversations could be overheard.
"That's what they called 'rubbering,' " Florence said.
An evening's entertainment was far different than today's digital age, even after the family first obtained a radio.
"In those days, we read a lot," Dorothy said.
The Mason children - four sisters and two brothers - attended a one-room schoolhouse.
Dorothy graduated school in 1927. She put her business classes to work in Harrisburg for a newspaper.
"I did a lot of typing; I didn't use my shorthand much," Dorothy said. "I got homesick and went home - I couldn't afford to go home very often on the train."
The family attended North Union Christian Church. It was there that young Dorothy Mason met Harold Story, a Chicago boy who was helping in the orchards of his relatives, the Landons.
The couple married in 1932, in the depths of the Depression.
Harold was a carpenter by trade, and they moved to Williamsport for work, where at one point he owned his own construction business. Harold also worked for an uncle for a time, driving loads of apples to New York City.
"Sometimes in the winter they didn't have work here," Dorothy said. "They had to go out of town, and he came back weekends."
The couple had four children, born between 1935 and 1939. Bill, the eldest, has passed, and Margaret lives in Spotsylvania, Va.
The family spent the 1940s in Wellsburg, N.Y., outside Elmira, then moved to the Muncy area in 1950.
They bought a house in 1952 that Dorothy did not leave until 1985, when she moved to an apartment in the Penn Hills complex, where she lived until last August. She was a homemaker who gardened and did lots of sewing, knitting and crocheting.
"She'd make us mittens in the winter," Phillip said.
After her husband passed away in 1977, Dorothy and her sister traveled to Ireland, where they found the Mason name in evidence.
"They did come from there in the beginning," Dorothy said.
Dorothy has no secret for a long life, but she's not complaining: "I don't feel too old - yet."