Hoffman, Hart family help Mrs. Little turn 100

Pre-birthday celebration coincides with annual family reunion

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

HOFFMAN — Harold Hart and his three grandchildren approached the honored guest of the evening, Mrs. Arnor Bea “A.B.” Little, and the three youngsters dutifully game Little a hug.

Hart encouraged them to offer a second one.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Harold Hart, of Stonesville, N.C., and grandchildren Michael Hart, 8, Kalani Raynor, 7, and Kameron Raynor, 6, with Arnor Bea "A.B." Little.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Harold Hart, of Stonesville, N.C., and grandchildren Michael Hart, 8, Kalani Raynor, 7, and Kameron Raynor, 6, with Arnor Bea “A.B.” Little.

“I want them to tell their children,” Hart, of Stonesville, N.C., said of Michael Hart, 8, Kalani Raynor, 7, and Kameron Raynor, 6.

Family stories are important in the Hart family, which helped Little celebrate her 100th birthday nearly one month early on Saturday at the Hoffman Recreation Center at the family’s annual reunion. Little doesn’t turn 100 until Aug. 10, but no one seemed to mind. A second celebration is being planned closer to her birthday.

Little, Hart said, “was such an inspiration to me as I was growing up. She was more than an inspiration. She was a friend. I want to make sure they keep (her) in their minds and in their hearts.”

Lonnie Blyther, for one, wanted to know her secret of staying so active for 10 decades. Blyther called Little a “pillar of the community” but someone strong enough to “not ashamed to correct you if necessary.”

“She must have done something right,” Blyther said. “She’s gonna turn 100 years young.”

Arnor Bea "A.B." Little

Arnor Bea “A.B.” Little

Little was happy to tell of her secret. It’s rather simple, she said.

“My secret is I love the Lord,” she said moments before the festivities began. “He is first in my life.”

And her faith, she said, allows her to live in a state that “I don’t feel like” she’s 100 years old.

Nor does she look it, but the secret that could be a mix of  natural beauty and of her profession. The Hoffman resident and native of Lee County, S.C., owned the first beauty salon in Hoffman — Bea’s Beauty Shop — in the 1940s and 1950s.

Little grew up on a farm. Among the things that she feels has changed in the past 100 years is the general work ethic of the population. As she grew up, a regular day was “sun up ’til sundown” — all for 35 cents a day.

She also said people simply aren’t as nice as they used to be.

“There’s a lot of stuff changed,” Little said.

Though she didn’t finish high school, Little said she graduated from Deshaza Beauty College in 1944 and proudly noted that she “scored a 97 on the state exam.”

Little also attended Sandhills Community College, became a nursing assistant and worked and later volunteered at Sandhills Regional Medical Center in Hamlet until she was 93. Little wrote a society column for the Richmond County Daily Journal and continues to write one for The Pilot newspaper in Moore County.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Friends and family gathered to help A.B. Little celebrate 100 years. The party included cake and dinner from General McArthur's in Laurinburg.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Friends and family gathered to help A.B. Little celebrate 100 years. The party included cake and dinner from General McArthur’s in Laurinburg.

Born in South Carolina, her family followed her father’s work and relocated to North Carolina when she was 8, to Moore County. She moved to Richmond County in 1925 when she was 11. She’s been a part of Hoffman ever since.

“She shows love to everyone,” said Joann Blyther. “She kept our (family) reunion going for over 60 years.”

Little married Herman W. Little at the age of 20. The relationship took work, she said, but it was “beautiful.” Herman Little died some 25 years ago.

“I fee like you’ll do okay as long as you (are) with one another.”

And when problems came along, divorce wasn’t such an easy answer as it is in today’s society.

“We just had to work it out,” she said.

Her son Emery also has passed, but Ivory works in Aberdeen and was present for Saturday’s celebration.

 

 

 

Filed in: Announcements, Featured News, Hoffman, Latest Headlines, News

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