Meet Beatrice Thompson, who was born in Middletown 100 years ago today

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Beatrice Thompson of Middletown talks about turning 100 on Feb. 5, 2020.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Beatrice Thompson has spent the majority of her 100-year life on Ninth Avenue.

She was born on the street on Feb. 5, 1920, bought another house on Ninth Avenue when she got married in 1939 and moved into a house in the 800 block of Ninth in 1945, where she lives with two daughters.

Thompson turns 100 today and certainly will celebrate with her extended family, then welcome friends at an open house Saturday at Tried Stone Baptist Church.

“Just glad to put my feet on the ground and open my eyes,” Thompson said when asked about the milestone birthday. “Glad the good Lord is looking after me.”

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She has nine children. She had four children with her husband, John, who was killed in an accident at Diamond International in 1946, and five children with James Page, a longtime companion. She also has 35 grandchildren, 65 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.

Besides her husband and Page, Thompson has only lost one grandson and one great-grandson. Four of her nine children are part of four-generation families.

“We got some good genes,” said Bev Howard, 79, the oldest of the children.

The other children: John, 77, Jacky, 75, Danny, 73, Jimmy, 71, Michael, 70, Freddy, 69, Vonnie, 68 and Carol, 67.

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Thompson said her neighbors helped her raise the children. It was common, she said, for neighbors to place baskets of home-grown vegetables on her porch.

Consider, she raised those nine children — five boys, four girls — in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Each child was given a bed time, based on their age, and everyone was assigned a time slot to use the bathroom.

If you overslept, you were shuffled to the back of the line, Howard said. This taught the children how to negotiate and get along, she said.

Those kids and their friends certainly kept Thompson busy.

“Ninth Avenue was a neighborhood by itself,” said Howard, who said at least six families on the street had five children.

After graduating from Middletown High School in 1938, Thompson attended the Madam C.J. Walker School of Cosmetology in Indianapolis. She returned to Middletown and worked as a beautician out of her home.

She became a self-taught seamstress, making her children’s clothing through their college years. She also made dolls and doll clothes for her daughters and granddaughters.

Thompson was active in the Parent Teachers Organization, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and at Bethel A.M.E. Church.

When it was time to take a picture for the newspaper, Thompson said was concerned about her appearance, especially her thinning hair. She told one of daughters to bring her a hat. Carol grabbed three hats.

“She’s still the boss,” Howard said.

After trying on one of the hats and seeing how she looked in a cell phone, Thompson said with a smile: “Go get my senior picture and give him.”

She was asked if she’s afraid of dying. She only thinks of death when one of her friends dies, she said.

“Whenever the Lord is ready for me,” she said, “I’ll be there.”

Beatrice Thompson by the numbers

3Houses she has lived in on Ninth Avenue

9: Children

10Great-great grandchildren

35: Grandchildren

65: Great-grandchildren

100: Her age today.

1938: Year she graduated from Middletown High School


WHAT: Beatrice Thompson's 100th birthday open house

WHEN: 1-3 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Tried Stone Baptist Church, 621 Lafayette Ave.