Ethel Geister celebrates a centuryPRESCOTT —- Ethel Geister attributes her longevity to a series of factors.
By: Jason Schulte, Pierce County Herald
PRESCOTT —- Ethel Geister attributes her longevity to a series of factors.
- No alcohol or tobacco abuse.
- Drinking lots of water and coffee daily.
- Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Eating home grown meat most of her life.
- “Hard work doesn’t kill anyone or I would have been gone years ago,” she said. “It is a great exercise.”
- A positive outlook on life with a caring and loving attitude.
- Obeying the Ten Commandments.
Those factors helped Geister reach 100 years of age last month. A small party was held in her honor at the Prescott Nursing and Rehabilitation Community Center.
“It was just another day,” she said of Feb. 16, the magical day.
Geister was born Ethel Kuschel, Feb. 16, 1909, in Browns Valley, Minn. The family didn’t stay there long, as four years later they moved to Garrison, N.D.
“Father left before us and bought 40 acres of land with no buildings,” Geister said. “He built a square house, an outhouse and a barn with a chicken coop inside. We had four cows, chickens and several horses. It was not unusual to go to the barn during the winter months and see white weasels sitting on the horse’s back warming their little feet.”
Life in Garrison was a lot different then as compared to now.
“We had no electricity, telephone, running water, or convenience for anything,” she said. “I never knew what shampoo was. Fels Naptha and P&G were the soaps used for everything.”
But, for all they didn’t have, Ethel remembers the compliments she would receive on the dresses she wore. Those came courtesy from her mother, Caroline, who was a dressmaker. Ethel recalled the dresses being full of ruffles with lace and wide sashes, along with being starched and pressed beyond perfection.
“I never knew what a store bought dress was until I was married,” she said.
Geister started school at the age of six, which also provided many memorable moments. She recalled that, during the winter months, if there were any blizzards, they wouldn’t go home from school for a week.
A lifelong hobby also began forming during her school years.
“Whenever my teacher needed something to be drawn, she always asked me to do it because I was good at it,” she said. “It was something that came very easy to me.”
In 1918, when she was nine, the family moved again, this time to Wisconsin, where both of her parents were from. Being the oldest of seven, she grew to love farm work and helping out her father.
“She became her dad’s right-hand man,” said her daughter Phyllis. “Her dad had a limp, so the two did most of the farm work.”
After originally settling in Amery, the family moved to Prescott, where Ethel would spend a majority of the rest of her life.
In her teenage years, she went to a dance in Beldenville, where an encounter changed her life.
“In my teen years, I met a dark, handsome man by the name of Archie William Geister,” she said. “On our first date, we went to a dance in Beldenville. He loved to dance and everyone wanted to dance with him. It was love at first sight.”
The pair were married in 1925 and settled on a 40-acre farm east of Prescott. The couple, who had seven children, raised cows, calves, pigs, chickens, horses and ducks. Besides the animals, Geister remembers the farm for its melon patch and a beautiful flower bed upon entering the garden.
“She loved Mother Nature,” Phyllis said. “She loved to work in the dirt and loved to fish.”
When Ethel reached her 40’s, she started working for the Old Steamboat Inn and Audrey’s Swedish Kitchen in Prescott. She also worked for the New Steamboat Inn as well. Eventually, Ethel and Archie eventually moved into Prescott, where she became more involved in card clubs, ceramics, sewing and crocheting.
At the same time, the farm life was always going to be a part of her.
“I liked it better out in the country,” she said. “I was always an early riser. Early morning hours were my favorite time of the day. I enjoyed watching the sun come up and Mother Nature. As the old saying goes ‘Stop and smell the roses’ and this I always did.”
Archie died in 1972 and Ethel has also had to bury three sons.
“It is a void in one’s life no one can fill,” she said. “Life is short, so enjoy each day as if it is your last.”
She was driving a car until the early part of this decade and was living by herself until nearly two years ago, when she moved into the Prescott Nursing and Rehabilitation Community Center.
Geister made an appearance last month at great-granddaughter Kelly’s ribbon cutting for the opening of her tattoo and body piercing studio in Prescott. Geister even became a client, as she now has a tattoo of a rose.
“It didn’t even hurt,” she said.
Geister says she’s feeling good right now and is just taking life one day at a time.
To comment on this article, go to www.piercecountyherald.com