5:35 AM, Jun. 3, 2011
When June Gregg lived in Storms’ Station, it was a busier place than it is today, but it was a simpler time.
In vivid detail, she recalls the two-story white house in which she grew up, the grain elevator still in operation and her General Mercantile store, which she shared with her grandfather’s post office for seven years in the 1930s.
These days, the village of Storms’ Station near Bainbridge consists of a handful of houses and farm fields accessible by a narrow back road. Storms’ Station, as Gregg knows it in her memories, now exists only in the sepia-toned photographs her father took nearly a century ago.
Gregg, of Bainbridge, turned 100 Thursday, and like all centenarians, she has watched history unfold before her eyes.
“I’ve seen World War I, World War II and all of the wars in between,” Gregg said. “My dad worked at Camp Sherman as a carpenter. Both of my brothers were in World War II.”
Gregg was born on June 2, 1911. She graduated from Bourneville High School in 1929.
“There were six girls and seven boys in my class, and I’m the last one left,” Gregg said. “My classmates and I kept in touch through the years. I knew where all of them were just about all of the time.
“As for me, I’ve lived in this area for all of my life, except for the two years that I spent as a student at Ohio State University.”
As an OSU student, Gregg was studying home economics in hopes of becoming a hospital dietitian, then the Great Depression hit, which brought the dreams of many to a crashing halt.
“We had sickness in the family, and it was the Depression years, so I didn’t get to finish school,” Gregg said. “It would’ve been too much of a burden to my parents for me to stay in college. Sometimes we have to give up things in life.”
When Gregg’s college plans fell through, she began to pursue other interests and careers. For seven years, she operated the General Mercantile store in Storms, and her grandfather was the postmaster of the post office located inside it.
“My grandfather taught me a lot about the postal business,” Gregg said. “When his post office closed, my store lost a lot of business, so I had to close, too. When I left there, my cousin asked me to come work at his store, Gragg’s Country Store, on Main Street in Bainbridge. And from there, I went on to work for 27 years as the senior clerk at the Bainbridge post office.”
Two years ago, Gregg gave up driving. These days, her neighbor, Susan Johnson, of Bainbridge, drives her to the bank and to doctor’s appointments, and assists Gregg with chores and errands.
“She’s slowed down since she’s neared 100, but she’s still very active,” Johnson said. “She’s an awesome neighbor.”
Gregg is an officer at the Bainbridge Senior Citizens Center, where she receives a daily meal and visits with her many friends.
Johnson said people call, write and come from near and far to learn a bit of history from Gregg.
“June is a people person, and she’s amazingly sharp,” Johnson said. “She has scrapbooks that she has kept for years, local history books and all of the journals that her father kept that are filled with notes about the weather and prices he paid for things on a certain date back then. At one point, June gave a friend of mine a photograph of his grandparents. He never had a photograph of them, so he was very happy. She has even come across some things in her collection about my family and my husband’s family.”
For Gregg, the highlight of any given day is when she gets her mail. She prefers letters to email. In Gregg’s words, she is not “the dot-com type.”
“She doesn’t like holidays and Sundays because the mail doesn’t come on those days,” Johnson said. “She loves to write. She’s a firm believer in writing letters.”
This week has been a particularly fulfilling week for Gregg, as her mailbox has stayed full of letters, cards and birthday greetings. On Tuesday, she received 22 birthday cards, and 18 more came Wednesday.
Despite her age, Gregg continues to attend club meetings and submits regular social meeting reports for publication in the Hillsboro Times-Gazette.
“When I came back to Bainbridge and started to work here, that’s when I became interested in my community,” Gregg said. “I’ve been a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Chillicothe Chapter No. 419, for 76 years. They gave me a lifetime membership just this year.
“I’ve got a 50-year pin from the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, belong to the Ross County Genealogical Society, the Bainbridge Historical Society and have been in charge of information and publicity for the Bainbridge Fall Festival of Leaves for 44 years. I helped to organize the festival and have been with it ever since. Even when I spent my winters in Florida, I always made sure I was home for the festival.”
Gregg said she is in good health, taking only three pills each day. Part of her longevity might be because of her blood lines. Gregg’s grandmother lived to be 98 years old, her mother reached the age of 97 and her great-great grandfather, Johnny Storms, almost made it to his 100th birthday. He missed the milestone by three months.
At home, Gregg is surrounded by her own collection of local treasures — local history books, old newspapers and news clippings, scrapbooks, magazine articles, family photos and historical photographs from Bainbridge and surrounding areas.
“My dad was an amateur photographer. He took a lot of pictures and developed them at home. I’ve saved those,” Gregg said. “I have a lot of family photos, photos of buildings and places that aren’t here anymore, and even some old Bainbridge street scenes. My dad kept a lot of things, and now I keep the old things, especially items of interest about my family. The folks saved them, and I just couldn’t bear to throw them away.”
Gregg never married, has no children of her own, and her youngest brother and last remaining sibling died in 2010. Still, she has been blessed with an abundance of fulfilling friendships. When she gazes through the pages of local history books, she doesn’t just read stale names on a page, she sees their faces.
For her, life has been a collection of events, relationships and memories, a history book in progress thank she’s thankful for.
“I’m excited to be turning 100,” Gregg said. “I’m glad the good Lord let me live this long.”
On Saturday, June Gregg will be the focus of a special open house at the Bainbridge Senior Center, located at 203 1/2 Main St., Bainbridge. The event will last from 2 to 5 p.m., and the general public is invited to attend.
On Thursday, Gregg was honored by Huntington Bank at the North Paint Street location for her customer loyalty on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Gregg still banks out of the same savings account her father opened for her with Huntington in January 1913, and she still has the original bank book from that time to prove it.
The bank presented her with the gift of an increased interest rate on her savings for the next 100 days, and Doug Shoemaker, Chillicothe community president for the bank, said today’s consumers can learn a valuable lesson from Gregg’s savings habits.
“There is a lot of discussion about whether we, as consumers, have permanently changed our spending and saving behaviors to reflect the current economic reality,” Shoemaker said. “June is living proof of the merit of always making saving a priority in both good times and bad.”
June Gregg was born on June 2nd, 1911
June 2nd, 1911
6 + 2 +1+9+1+1 = 20 = her life lesson = what she is here to learn = Sound judgement.
June 2nd, 1911
6 + 2 +2+0+1+1 = 12 = her personal year (from June 2nd, 2011 to June 1st, 2012) = Different.
12 year + 6 (June) = 18 = her personal month (from June 2nd, 2011 to July 1st, 2011) = Surreal.
18 month + 2 (2nd of the month on Thursday June 2nd, 2011) = 20 = her personal day = Sound judgement.
When her number (20 (6 + 2 +1+9+1+1 = 20)) came up, that’s when she got to live/experience what she is here to live/experience. So Thursday June 2nd, 2011 was HER day!!!