WATER VALLEY – At 103 years-old, Water Vallian Lottie Mae Fox has worked hard all of her life, raised 11 children, and never had her picture in the newspaper.
A recent interview with Fox, while she was resting in a Yalobusha General Hospital, helped change one of those statistics.
Fox gave a Herald reporter 30 minutes to describe her life recently.
Speaking with a frail, but determined voice, Fox describes growing up on a plantation near Skuna Valley.
“We had some rough, rough days,” Fox said about raising her family.
She was also proud to report that strong discipline could be attributed to raising well-behaved children.
“She taught us to love and care for each other,” her son was quick to add.
“The first airplane I ever saw was when I was picking cotton,” Fox recalls with a chuckle. She tells a story about her father tearing out across the field with his young-uns in tow, taking cover in a nearby ditch.
“That was something else,” Fox said, still laughing.
As times changed, Fox eventually had to leave the farm with her children, moving to Water Valley in the late 1960s.
The move was a tough transition, she had lived on a farm her entire life.
“I didn’t like it at all, I was used to working and I didn’t have a job,” she recalls.
She described many of the farm duties including pulling corn, stripping sorghum, picking cotton and digging potatoes.
“Do you remember when the mail rider used to carry the mail on a horse?” she asks during the interview. Her oldest daughter, age 84, her youngest son, age 58, and a friend, Mary Person, who were also in the room, laugh – no one can remember that era.
“You would see a person going down the road with a cup, you remember that?” she asks. A neighbor might need a cup of sugar or a pinch of salt to finish preparing a meal, she elaborates.
“I remember that,” Person answers.
Of her 11 children, two have passed away. The remaining nine include Opal Trice and Ella Harris, both of Shannon; Bernice Minor of Water Valley, Amy Woodard of Milwaukee, WI; Molly Simmons of Long Beach, CA; Dollie Fant and Catherine Brown, both of Water Valley; Ruby Swift of Alama, TN; and Willie “Butch” Foxx of Water Valley.