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
3: Houses she has lived in on Ninth Avenue
10: Great-great grandchildren
100: Her age today.
1938: Year she graduated from Middletown High School
HOW TO GO:
WHAT: Beatrice Thompson's 100th birthday open house
WHEN: 1-3 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Tried Stone Baptist Church, 621 Lafayette Ave.