Commonwealth Journal

Local News

January 29, 2014

‘Living right’ at 102

Babe’ Caldwell’s life is a living history lesson

Somerset —

What’s the secret to living to the age of 102?
“Live right.”
That’s according to Ardis “Babe” Caldwell, who cele-brated her one-hun-dred-and-second birthday Tuesday at The Highlands as-sisted living facility on Norfleet Drive in Somerset.
Babe was sur-rounded by family and friends during the party thrown for her, and was alert and spry as she welcomed her loved ones from her spot in the seat of honor.
Born in 1912, she lived though an incredible amount of history transpiring in the world around her. For perspective, the year she was born, the Titanic sank, Woodrow Wil-son was elected president, and the Girl Scouts organ-ization was founded. World War I began when Babe was only two years old. The stock market crash that led to the Great Depression took place when she was a teenager.
Through it all, Babe was growing up here within the relatively peaceful boundaries of the Commonwealth, though her early life was not without its own difficulties.
“Her dad was a coal miner part-time; life could be a little rough,” said daughter Patty Ross. “That made her very determined. She was the only one in her family that graduated high school.”
That was in Williamsburg, Ky., where she was originally from before coming to Pulaski County. Babe had to struggle to achieve that goal in the classroom, but she did, graduating in 1932 and participating in activities like girls’ basketball.
“Her parents did not see the need for education,” said Ross. “In those days, the girls didn’t have education, but one of her uncles encouraged her mother to be sure that she got to school. She was too smart not to go to school; that’s the story I hear.”
In 1949, she moved to Somerset with husband Peyton Caldwell, who was an engineer with the state highway department, overseeing the construction of the bridges that were being built in Burnside at that time. As such, her two daughters, Patty and Jayne — who are no 73 and 76 respectively — grew up here in this area. 

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