Lena Blanche Tackitt, Caulfield, celebrated her 100th birthday Friday at the Caulfield Community Building surrounded by family and friends, with a potluck, birthday cake and other desserts. And having been a lifetime member of the community, with 10 siblings and six children, there were plenty of both there. The celebration included a proclamation marking the occasion presented by Howell County Presiding Commissioner Mark Collins and Associate Commissioner Billy Sexton.
Tackitt goes by her middle name Blanche, and lately has been known by many as “Granny B.” She remains active, lives on her own with frequent visits from loved ones, and keeps going on adventures, proving her bucket list isn’t quite finished yet. On Aug. 13, she went on a kayaking trip with some of her grandchildren for the first time.
She recounted it to granddaughter Shelly Bean as “quite the experience.” “Never think you are too old to try new things,” Bean commented in a writeup dedicated to her, adding “She is remarkable, full of life and love, a beautiful lady on the inside and out. I am so blessed to call her Granny B. You are truly one of a kind. Happy 100th birthday.”
The event was commemorated with a proclamation presented by Howell County Presiding Commissioner Mark Collins and Associate Commissioner Billy Sexton, who is related by marriage. It read, in part, “Now therefore, be it resolved, that the members of the Howell County Commission, warmly express their congratulations to Lena Blanche Tackitt Langston Harden upon her One Hundredth Birthday, and extend wishes for continuing blessings and happiness in the years to come.”
Sexton also took a moment to announce the use of American Recovery Plan Act funds for improvements to the Caulfield Community Building by keeping its rustic character but replacing the kitchen and bathrooms, siding, and adding central heat and air. The building was first used as a one room schoolhouse beginning in the 1940s has been used as a gathering place for live music performances, pie suppers, and family reunions by many generations of western Howell County and eastern Ozark County, including the Tackitt and Langston families and other longtime community members.
When asked about her earliest memory, Granny B recalled when she was about four she and sister Kathern and a friend of Kathern’s were upstairs in their home twisting tobacco their parents had grown. The friend, a young boy, decided to try some. “The little friend chewed some, and it made him terribly sick. I remember his hair was red, and his face turned as red as his hair.”
She also remembered the Depression years, a tough time for rural families in the Ozarks that was complicated by a drought that made it hard to keep their cattle fed. Her parents, Willis and Martha Tackitt, were known as Poppy and Granny. “I remember Poppy had to cut trees for the cattle to eat the green leaves. It was hard times but I never went hungry.”
And there were plenty of mouths to feed. Granny B’s other siblings were Jewell Tackitt, Snowie Spoon, Esther Langston, Myrtle Hensley, J.B. Tackitt, Doris Bonham, Lee Olen Tackitt, Billy Joe Tackitt, and Pauline Bean. Billy Joe is her last surviving sibling. Blanche and first husband Elbridge had six children, Ramona Bean Joice, Terry Elbridge Langston, Sammy Ray Langston, Jacky Dwayne Langston, Dennis Emmitt Langston, and Anita Lena Turner. They had 17 grandchildren.
Elbridge passed away in 2000, and her second husband Richard Harden, whom she married in 2003, passed away in 2009.
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