At 100, Leila Brewer remains active with quilting.
Leila Brewer is getting ready for her 100th birthday party this weekend, and the twist is that she is making presents for her guests.
Brewer enjoys sewing and crocheting; at age 99 she hand-pieced two quilts and made three more with her sewing machine. "I made all my children quilts," Brewer said in a recent interview at The Plaza. "I'd make them any quilt they wanted: double wedding ring, fan, log cabin. I'm making them a lot quicker now because I don't cook. That cooking takes some time and cleaning up! That takes some time, too."
When she isn't quilting, she is crocheting. Her latest creations are handmade pot scrubbers that Brewer said "can even take the bugs off the front of your car."
In preparation for her 100th birthday party Brewer has crocheted 72 pot scrubbers, dish rags and pot holders for her guests.
"I will make a little speech and let them all reach into the grab bags and they can keep whatever they get," said Brewer, "but the pot scrubbers are for the heads of the families!"
She has six children; 18 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and several great-great-grandchildren, some of whom will be coming from as far a North Carolina for Brewer's big day on July 28.
Brewer has lived through many changes during her century of living. "It's a different world," said Brewer, who was born in 1912, one of 10 children. Her father, who lived into his 90s, ran a sawmill, farmed and worked in real estate. "We had a wagon and mules and some horses we would ride," Brewer recalled. "A loaf of bread was 10 cents."
Her husband also farmed, ran a cotton gin in the fall, was called to preach and hauled freight from the depot to stores in Arkadelphia.
Brewer said her secret to longevity is staying away from carbonated beverages. "When the cold drinks came out, I didn't drink them," she said. "I stay away from the carbonated water. I drink decaffeinated tea and water with lemon. And we always ate stuff we raised: sweet potatoes, beans, peas. I would say don't drink too many cold drinks and eat more home cooking."
She also believes in staying active. While she never exercised, she did continue to mow her yard up to age 97.
Her plans for the future are to continue sewing and crocheting at The Plaza. "I'd like to be home, but this is the next best," she said.