Mozelle Witcher of Penhook, VA celebrated her 100th birthday the first week in January 2021! Friends and family greeted her during a drive by event on Sunday Jan. 3 from 1-2 pm at her home. Over 180 friends and family drove by with the oldest guest being 106 years old. On her birthday, Tuesday, Jan. 5, she celebrated again with her nine children (all wearing their mask and socially distancing themselves). She received numerous gifts, cards, phone calls, letters of recognition, certificates and many congratulatory letters from various agencies, and county and state officials.
Mozelle was born January 5, 1921 to Elijah and Exie Witcher. She was a sibling of 16 children all but 8 deceased. She was married to the late Connie Witcher and to this union had 11 children (2 now deceased). Mozelle was so kind hearted that she not only had a special love for her own children but love for everybody else’s kids as well, some of whom she also put claim on.
Mozelle had family and friends from all around, including family from Portsmouth, VA that considers her as their mom. Mozelle’s words were simply “Everybody loves Raymond” and “Raymond loves everybody”.
Mozelle was a hard worker, a good wife and a great mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend. Some work included cutting pulp wood to working in the tobacco fields and she still made sure that all her kids and her husband had hot meals every day.
Connie and Mozelle raised most of their food like chickens and hogs and grew the vegetables right on the Witcher farm to keep the family fed.
Mozelle was a Christian woman and loved her church (Greater Mt. Parrish) and attended faithfully until her health started declining. She made sure the family went to church, Bible school, Sunday school, Monday school and instilled Christian morals and good character traits in her children.
She loved her friends and family coming in from out of town. Not only did she feed her own. She had so much love for others that she would feed them, also. In early days they called it putting the big pot in the little one because it meant fixing the very best you had. If it wasn’t enough food already cooked for unexpected visitors, she would go to the kitchen and stir up some more vittles so that there was enough for everybody. Being young kids we sometimes thought people came just to eat, but mama wouldn’t have had it any other way. Back then the company ate first and the kids had to wait but there was always food to feed a multitude. They did a lot of their grown folk talking around the dinner table and kids had to go play and stay out of grown folks conversations.
Through the years as she got a little older and a little older and a little older some of her activities began to get a little slower and a little slower but nothing could keep a good woman down. Unto this day, she is still in the kitchen cooking and canning. That’s something that she still has a love for and won’t give it up. Anything that can go in a jar she is going to preserve it. She would make a cake one day and turn it into a pie the next day. She is always telling her kids and family “y’all going to learn one day”. She loves to keep plastic containers and aluminum pie pans and everyone asks her why she is keeping those things and her response would be, I’m keeping it so you can take some food home with you and have something to put it in. We would all laugh and make fun of it but that’s another one of her traits that were instilled in her kids because some of us do that exact same thing. (Just only not as many as she would keep). If you needed something most of the time you could find it at Mozelle’s house.
All through her years, both young and old, she was always a go-getter and a very hard worker. She loves picking her veggies from the garden. It seems like she could go and pick salad greens when it wasn’t even any out there to be picked. That’s just how conservative she was. Whenever she decided she wanted to go and pick turnip greens she would always go with no exceptions. One day she went to the salad patch after several days of heavy rain and the garden was very muddy and miry. She got stuck in the mud in the garden and had to leave her shoes sunk in the mud and walk back to the house barefooted. There is a song by one artist called “Barefooting” that we always joked with her about.
In her younger days you couldn’t help her in the kitchen because you weren’t clean enough and couldn’t do it like she could. But now as she is much older she will let you in the kitchen but still sits close by to supervise. She can still cook and can at age 99 and the only reason she hasn’t canned anything since she has reached 100 is because she doesn’t have anything “to throw in a jar.”
2020 has been a different year for everyone but she still loves her family and friends so much that she can’t understand why everybody stopped coming to visit. She is still saying, “any and everybody is always welcome to come here.” Mozelle will quickly tell you she’s not scared but believes that we all need to try to be safe by following and practicing the pandemic guidelines that we have in place.
She was overheard one day as she talked on the phone to her friend who is 99 and soon to be 100. (Mom’s birthday is in January and her friend’s birthday is in May). So momma says “I don’t care how fast you run you can’t catch me” (referring to their age).
In spite of this pandemic year (2020), she has continued to be blessed. She made it to see a whole century and that is truly a blessing from God!
Hooray! She made it to this day!!!