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Bernice Mason is a lifelong advocate for veterans, children

Bernice Mason is a lifelong advocate for veterans, children

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YORK – Much has happened since October 25, 1920, and York resident Bernice Mason has been around for it all in person.

Mason, a 74-year resident of York who moved to town in 1946, was born at home in Bradshaw 100 years ago tomorrow (Sunday, Oct. 25).

“Everybody was born at home in those days,” she said with a laugh, describing how the doctor came to her parents’ house to oversee the event.

Mason’s big day tomorrow will include a drive-by birthday celebration from 2-3 p.m. to which all are invited. The motorcade will meet at Greenwood Cemetery and drive past Mason’s nearby home from west to east. She will be outside to wave ‘Hello’ from a proper social distance.

Speaking Thursday in her home, Mason chuckled and suggested, “I may be the longest continuous subscriber” to the York News-Times, She has received the paper since her arrival in York with husband Kenny, a veteran of the European Theater in World War II, in` 1946.

Kenny died in 2008 from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mason’s 34 years of service to the kids of York at Kilgore Memorial Library dates to 1968 as children’s librarian.

“I haven’t given up on my books, as you can see,” she said with a smile and a gesture toward a nearby cabinet stuffed full. However, “Recently, I have been donating books to the Henderson Health Center” where a family member is employed.

“I loved all ages of the children,” she said of her three-plus decades at the library. “In the later years” libraries “were promoting reading to infants and toddlers,” which was right down her alley.

“I especially loved the pre-school story hours” with kids from local daycare providers. Head Start youngsters would come on a regular basis and “I really liked them,” she said, “and I loved the teenage volunteers. They were just fun for me to deal with.”

In its heyday, she said, Summer Reading Camp would draw as many as 300 kids which required a small army of willing teens to manage.

But this lively senior citizen is a computer-age lady, too … or at least she was.

Mason dutifully purchased one at age 90 and, “Mostly played with it for eight years.” The best and most useful thing about it, she came to learn, was the amazing source of global information we know as Google. “After eight years” she said, “the computer died. I didn’t replace it. I thought I was too old to learn a new one.”

Also Thursday afternoon, Connie Hubbard of the VFW Irven J. Blum Auxiliary No. 1609 visited Mason to make a special presentation.

A copy of the picture book ‘Why We Stand’, written by young father Dillon Krueger of Columbus and dedicated to his two sons, is designed to teach growing young minds why and how to honor and respect flag and country.

A copy was obtained by the Auxiliary and will be donated to Kilgore Memorial Library, “In honor of our member, Bernice Mason, on her 100th birthday,” reads the inscription penned inside. “We praise her for her dedication to our veterans and her continued membership. Also, for her 34 years of dedication to the children’s library as the children’s librarian.”

With the pandemic, she said, “We’re not making a big deal” of her birthday, however that was said before she had been told of Sunday’s rolling party in her honor.

“Tell him what you want for your birthday,” coached Hubbard, clearly already aware what the answer would be.

“With a twinkle in her eye and a big grin Mason answered, “All I want is a Runza. A Runza and a soft-serve cone. That’s all I want.”

Will she get it? Smart money says don’t bet against it.

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