HOWARD — Mabel Bateman will tell you her memory isn’t what it used to be. That is understandable considering it holds 100 years worth of experiences, celebrations, changes in the world and society, sorrows and joys.
A Howard icon, Bateman will turn 100 years old on Monday, after celebrating the milestone with friends and family Sunday.
She moved to the small town when she was young and her dad, George Armstrong, ran the train depot. The small station, which was located near the Howard parking lot for the Kokosing Gap Trail, was a main attraction to a town Bateman estimated had 200 residents.
She has fond memories of riding the rail, including her weekly trips back to Galena for music lessons.
For fun, she remembers playing baseball, croquet and reading.
The former Mabel Armstrong graduated from Howard High School in 1929. She graduated from Mount Vernon Business School and went to work in the payroll department of Cooper Bessemer.
She later married John George Bateman, a teacher at Howard High School, and became quite involved in the activities at the school. At one time, she served as secretary for the school board. He later became superintendent.
“We hosted a senior breakfast,” she said. “Every year the senior class would be here and we would serve breakfast to them. There were 12 to 15 students.”
The breakfast menu usually included scrambled eggs, toast, coffee and fruit.
She raised two children, Marilyn and John, and taught Sunday School at the Howard Church of Christ.
When asked to talk about the changes she has witnessed over the last decade, Bateman was slow to start, but with the help of her children, she reminisced about the advances in technology and communications.
“Biggest changes were cars and electrical equipment — things we didn’t have at first,” she said. “I think the radio made a lot of difference to people in rural communities because that kept you informed.
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