Winston-Salem salutes local centenarians

May. 11, 2013 @ 08:29 PM

WINSTON-SALEM — Ethel Nail can remember when she rode into Winston-Salem in a horse and buggy with her father, just a few years central North Carolina city was formed from two separate towns.

"Everything has changed since then," Nail said. "There's so many buildings now, and all the old factories are gone."

The Winston-Salem Journal reports ( that as the central North Carolina city celebrates the 100th anniversary of the consolidation of Winston and Salem, officials also honored the 50 residents who are or who will be 100 years old or older in 2013. Only 30 attended.

The families of recently deceased residents who would have been 100 years old were also honored at Friday's luncheon.

Nail said she was honored to be recognized along with the other centenarians and said she is looking forward to her birthday in June.

"I'm excited," she said. "Me and the city, we get to celebrate our 100th birthdays together."

Charles Talton turned 100 years old two months ago.

"You could not imagine how different the world is from when I was a young lad to today," he said. "Winston-Salem has changed from a tobacco town into a first-class city as far as I'm concerned."

Also among those honored at the luncheon was Sina Hayes, who will be 110 years old in June, making her Winston-Salem's oldest living resident. She said she remembers hearing about the consolidation when she was in third grade.

Rosa Rice, who attended the event with her daughter, will be 104 later this year and has three great-great grandchildren. But she just recently started to slow down.

She just stopped driving this year, although her driver's license is still valid. Rice still cooks, shops for groceries, dresses herself and does the occasional housekeeping. She just got her first walker two months ago, but doesn't always use it.

Rice has lived in Winston-Salem for the past 81 years. She said it has changed a lot, particularly when it comes to transportation and technology. She said the luncheon was a great way to showcase all the changes.

"This is a great event in that it celebrates the people who are a part of the city's history and are the ones who helped make Winston-Salem what it is," Mayor Allen Joines said. "We want to make them feel special."