What a privilege and honor it was Wednesday morning to visit with Tyler resident Earline Andrews on her 105 birthday. She happens to be the oldest living graduate of my alma mater, Northwestern State University! I don’t think she could have been more delighted when we arrived with a beautiful bouquet of flowers on behalf of NSU and balloons from our KLTV morning team.
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the stories from her time at ‘old Normal,’ short for the college’s former name, Louisiana State Normal College. Andrews explained that Natchitoches, Louisiana has earned a special fondness in her heart. She recalled sleeping on the porch of the girls dorm during warmer months, the plantation bell that signaled the start of each school day, and vivid memories of the famous Christmas lights that adorn the downtown riverbank.
She also reminisced about the colorful characters on campus in the 1920s, like women’s dean Hereford. “The Dragon,” as she was known by many students, would not allow female students to go to Front Street without special permission. She also shared stories of the special lecturers brought to campus by President VL Roy. I especially enjoyed her story about her father confronting her about racing Model-Ts on horseback. She won those races, by the way.
Andrews 43 years as a middle school educator were rewarding, she says, due in large part to her education in Natchitoches. While she did not have any children of her own, she calls generations of former students “her children.” Over the years, she said students would telephone her from landmarks around the world, describing their journeys and reminding her that they first learned of these magnificent destinations in her classroom. She received nearly a half dozen phone calls in the short time I was there, including some from students who are now in their 70s.
Earline Andrews is a truly remarkable woman with a keen sense of humor. Hilarious, in fact. She encourages everyone to find the positive in every situation and live each day to the fullest. With such a positive outlook, it’s easy to see why she has had such a full life.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Raycom Media. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2015 Lane Luckie