Easter Sunday is a sacred holiday to many religious followers. It is celebrated as the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Even so, Easter is the day when children hunt desperately for the golden prize egg or anxiously unwrap their chocolate bunnies.
To Antoinette Greene, better known as Toni, this year’s Easter holiday is twice as special. Greene was born in 1913 on March 23, Easter Sunday.
This year Easter falls on the fourth Sunday of the month,March 23. It sounds like any other Easter celebration, but for the first time in 95 years, it’s one of the earliest dates Easter can come.
It is rare for Easter to occur so early in the year; and for someone to see it in their lifetime is unusual. It will be 228 years before Easter will fall on March 23 again.
Greene is fortunate not only to see the holiday fall on March 23. but to celebrate her 95th birthday as well. Greene, who is a resident of the West Village Retirement Community, loves Easter. Her sitting room is decorated with Easter eggs, green grass, bunnies, chickens and her special holiday tree.
Everything that Greene has decorated her room with has been hand painted, crocheted or fashioned. Even her holiday tree, a piece of drift wood she found nearly 50 years ago, was something ordinary she turned into something extraodinary. Greene’s room and her passion for crafts reflect her loving, devoted personality.
Greene’s son, Fred Greene, said of his mother, “Mama kept things going. She took us to football practice, Boy Scout meetings and made sure we were in Sunday school.”
Greene is the mother of three boys - Fredric, Bruce and Carey - and one girl, Judy. Her husband, Harvey R. Greene, was very well known in the community and served two terms as mayor from 1958 to 1963
In a book Greene wrote called “My Family” she talks about meeting Harvey. She said, “My friend Grace Hallman introduced me to Harvey. She asked him to take us to the show, but he stood us up. The next week we double dated, and that is when our romance began.”
The couple married on November 12, 1932. Greene said, “Those were tough times. Harvey was making only $12.50 a week hauling ice. Harvey was a healthy and ambitious young man with dreams and goals. He only had a seventh grade education, but he had so much common sense. He was such a good business man.”
In 1946, Harvey Greene decided to go into the propane business. He worked day and night selling propane and installing tanks. His business later became the largest propane company in the Southeast area. They had 13 stores stretching across middle Georgia, Columbus and Alabama.
When Mrs. Greene was asked if she was excited to see her birthday on Easter Sunday again, she simply replied, “Not really; 95 is pretty old but I love Easter.
“I’m excited I got a Happy Birthday card from the president.” Her card signed by President Bush and the First Lady sat proudly in a silver frame on her decorated side table.
Mrs. Greene said Easter and Christmas are her two favorite holidays and her sitting room decorations agreed.
Greene’s caretaker, Patricia Emmett, said, “I think Mrs. Greene is a delight. I have enjoyed every day with her. She is very caring, thoughtful and giving. I can’t help but be blessed from being around her.”
Ref: The Thomaston Times, Thomaston, Georgia, Published: Friday, March 21, 2008 7:47 AM CDT, http://www.thomastontimes.com/articles/2008/03/21/featured_photos/feat1.txt