When someone turns 100 years old, you feel you need to ask them their secret. There are no secrets with Sadie Leona Feagle; she’ll tell you straight out, “Hard work never hurt nobody.” Talking with Sadie is a true privilege. After all, how often do you have the chance to talk with someone who remembers when the sun didn’t shine in the Florida sky for two weeks in the 1930s because of the Texas Dust Bowl, or who took cotton she grew on her farm to the gin to make her own mattress ticking?
Sadie was born in 1917 in Whigham, Georgia, and grew up in Lake City, Florida. She met her husband, Bascom Feagle, on the banks of the Ichetucknee River where it meets the Santa Fe. Bascom’s father owned a mill nearby and sent him to catch some fish that day. He also caught Sadie and they married when she was 15. They were married for 48 years and had four beautiful children. Her youngest child, a daughter, passed away 10 years ago. Sadie’s remaining children are 83, 80 and 78 years old.
Sadie has lived at Advent Christian Village for the past 28 years, and she is a very busy lady. She believes that Advent Christian Village gives her the environment she needs to stay healthy and productive. She lives independently in an apartment, manages her own bills and prepares most of her own food, including her favorite: hot wings. All of Sadie’s activities seem to be based on her motto, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” So, Sadie stays on the go and takes advantage of everything Advent Christian Village offers.
Sadie participates in leading — yes, leading! — an exercise group three times a week because, as she says, it helps with her balance. She also walks as much as she can, like to the Village Square to get her hair done (but she takes the ACV shuttle bus back). She is one of the volunteers that helps care for the ACV grape vines and she has made jam from the fruit. She has learned how to use a computer and she makes custom greeting cards for friends and neighbors when they have a birthday or special occasion. She reads all the time, taking advantage of audiotapes and old magazines. She is a bit of a history buff and has traced her lineage back to Germany.
Displayed prominently on her apartment wall is a very old white lace baby gown framed in glass. It was the gown Sadie was to be buried in. She was not expected to live past the age of two. Sadie displays it in thankfulness to God for allowing her to live much longer than just a couple years. After sharing this, she tilted her head and shared emphatically, “People don’t understand that when you abort a baby, you abort a generation,” and she swept her hand across the room toward the pictures of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Then she patted her chest and said, “They all came from me.”