'You all come back again, now'
When Lula League was born, the weather was warm and a presidential campaign was heating up, too, with the Democratic nominee up for reelection pledgingto keep America out of a foreign war. Woodrow Wilson won that election, but didn't keep America out of what became known as World War I. One-hundred years later, on June 17, Lula Lippert, who grew up in Ducker Station as one of 13 children, celebrated a century on earth with about 100 people at Taylor Manor Nursing Home. "At the end of the day, she was tired, but still smiling," Fred Lippert said. At 77, he is Lula Lippert's sole surviving child. "She's a very independent woman. She mowed her own yard up until she was about 90 years old," Lippert said. Until about three-and-a-half years ago, Lula Lippert lived on her own. That's when she was diagnosed with dementia, and moved to Taylor Manor. She is wheelchair-bound now, and has trouble remembering things both recent and distant, but her son said he believes she is happy. "The good part about it that she still recognizes Mary Lee (his wife) and I. We try to go visit every other day, or every three days, throughout each week. And when we're there, she's always smiling, always has a smile on her face. We talk as much as we can and we try to get her to remember things, you know, back when - of course, she doesn't remember them, but occasionally she'll remember a little something about our house . something about the old store at Ducker ." Lippert said. In 1958, her husband, John Frederick Lippert, died. Fred Lippert said his father was 40 years older than his mother. "My dad had - back then, we called it senility, of course - Dad had it, and then Mom has it, of course," Lippert said. Lula Lippert never remarried. "Mom is a strong-willed person and she knew that that was coming. She took it very well, I'd say," Lippert said. "She continued on with her life just as anyone else would." She kept busy. She'd been a school cook for decades, then worked for Texas Instruments for another 20-plus years. She spent time with her children, and their children, and their children. "Mom was a strong Christian woman. She went to Versailles Baptist Church for many years. When she was at home, she got up each morning and read her Bible," Lippert said. Lippert said his mother is a frugal person, a result of growing up on a farm with a dozen siblings. "They had to scratch around," Lippert said. Still, she found money and time to travel, including a trip to the Holy Land. Many of those memories are, for her, faded or gone. But Lippert said his mother had - and has - a good life. "They're very good with elderly people out there. And Mom is, I believe, content. I believe she's content. She doesn't raise a lot of Cain and doesn't go off the deep end, so to speak," Lippert said. "Her life there, I think, it's as good as you could ever expect it to be." Lippert said his mother tries to carry on conversations, though her end of them tend to involve "yes" and "no" answers, but she's always glad to see him and Mary Lee. Each visit ends this way, he said: "We say, 'Mom, we've got to leave and we'll see you soon.' She says, 'Well, I'm glad you came. You all come back again, now,'" Lippert said.