Edna Picking celebrates century of living

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Surrounded by her favorite things, Edna Picking turned 100 while a resident at The Quarters. She is holding a photograph of her grandchildren, some of her favorite people.

Hard work and eating right helped Edna (Niswander) Picking reach 100 years. And she put the stress on "work."

The former Greencastle resident was born Nov. 16, 1912 on North Rabbit Road. She celebrated her century of living Saturday with an open house at The Quarters at the Shook Home in Chambersburg.

Approximately120 people attended. Refreshments included a cake with the theme “Shining Through the Years”, and Oreos, which also turned 100 in 2012.

Picking was the eighth of nine children of Harvey and Lizzie B. Niswander. After attending the one-room schools at Air Hill and Brown's Mill, she took her eighth-grade education back to the family farm and went to work. Since her siblings had started to leave home, she did her share. The family had cows, sheep, hogs and horses. As a child, Picking found time for a pet lamb. When older, she joined other young people for outings at Black's Woods near Mercersburg.

She met her husband at the Brown's Mill Campground during a United Brethren meeting. Four years her senior, she recalled, "I didn't know the man. He had seen me at parties but was too bashful to say anything."

His cousin Fred Blue introduced them and they married in 1940. Charles was also a farmer, and had worked for a time in Illinois. Back in the area, he also became an orchardist. The newlyweds lived at the far end of Stonebridge Road, and raised two daughters. Doris married Robert L. Oberholzer and Janet married Rick Cook.

For a time, Picking worked for H. J. Heinz in Chambersburg for 25 cents an hour. The couple joined the Church of the Brethren in Upton in 1962, and she is still a member today. She kept up a large garden, enjoying flowerbeds. The pair also butchered their own meat. They retired from farming and built a house just outside city limits on Williamson Road in 1966.

"I enjoyed my new home, and lived there until 2008," Picking said.

Though Charles died in 1979, Picking kept up a close relationship with his four sisters.

"We got together monthly with our fanciwork. We'd eat and talk and do embroidery, crochet and quilting."

Picking also enjoyed putting together jigsaw puzzles and became quite accomplished on the harmonica.

After a fall, she realized it was time to move to The Quarters at age 95. Her good friend and neighbor, who had been so helpful, hated to see her leave.

"I said, when you get old, that's what happens," she stated.

Picking is in generally good health, though long-time back problems and arthritis make her stiff, and she depends on a walker for mobility. But to this day, she has never owned a television, just too busy to watch.

She looked at her past with fondness.

"Those were the good old days. They were slower-paced. I don't know anything about this fast world," she said.

Picking also credited taking care of herself as resulting in seeing her 100th birthday.

"She likes home remedies," said Oberholzer. "And we give God the credit for His blessings."

Picking keeps in touch with her five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, though they are scattered.

"They are what kept me young."