She sat in the sunshine filtering through the windows at a local assisted living home, dressed in her best and obviously pleased to have visitors.
Spry and full of smiles and jokes, one would never guess Julia Suddath Rozier is 100 years old.
The Statesboro native will quickly tell the reason she has lived such a long and healthy life: “They spoiled me, and I never worry.”
“They” were her grandparents, with whom she lived as a child. Rozier grew up in Statesboro, during a time when a movie cost 15 cents to see and most streets in town weren’t paved.
There were two theaters in Statesboro and, when she went on a date, it was to the movies. Growing up on Zetterower Avenue, she enjoyed riding bicycles and playing with her three sisters and four brothers.
She moved in with her grandparents at a young age, and they were very “funny” about dating when she grew older.
“They didn’t even want me to date,” she said.
But one day, she met F.C. Rozier, and the rest is history. The couple were married 60 years before his death, and they had two children, Frank and Julie.
Julia Rozier became a teacher upon graduation from Georgia Normal School (now Georgia Southern University) and taught first and second grade in Twin City, Brooklet and Stilson. At times, she even taught her son, Frank, and the lady who would later become his wife, Lenora.
“I didn’t show any partiality,” Rozier said. “They called me Mrs. Rozier.”
But that ended when she left the classroom.
“She never brought it home,” said Frank Rozier as he visited recently with his mother at Willow Pond Assisted Living.
After marrying at age 28, Rozier enjoyed life as a farmer’s wife until her husband purchased a car dealership.
“I never went without a Ford,” she said. “It’s all I know.”
That dealership brought many changes in their lives, and Frank Rozier later took over the reins of his father’s business until recently, when he decided to sell the dealership.
Julia Rozier drove up until age 95 and remembers her favorite car being a Mercury Grand Marquis.
She admits having seen many changes over the years. As one of the first families to have a TV, her family often had visitors.
“I couldn’t believe (watching TV) at first,” she said. “It was black and white and was small, not a big one.”
Another amazing invention that made her life easier was the microwave oven.
“It makes cooking so much easier!” she exclaimed.
Rozier said Statesboro has changed greatly since her childhood days. Recalling stores downtown including Minkovitz, Akins Hardware and Buggy & Wagon, she remembers shopping downtown being a very different experience from browsing the numerous stores around Statesboro today.
She was a patient of Drs. Albert and Buster Deal but couldn’t say whether excellent doctor care attributed to her long life. When asked how she managed to live so long and be so full of life, Rozier gave a puzzled look and said: “I don’t know. I wonder about that myself!”
One thing that might have contributed to her longevity is that “I don’t worry” mentality. She said again that she was spoiled and never wanted for anything. She was never seriously ill, except for having her appendix removed at age 6.
“I did worry about my children,” she said. “As a mother, you naturally worry about your children. I don’t think I spoiled my children, though.”
Her daughter-in-law, Lenora, chuckled.
“The grandchildren are a different story,” she said.
Lenora and Frank have two adult children, and Rozier’s daughter Julia has one — all of whom have two children each, meaning Rozier enjoys visiting with six great-grandchildren.
That means a great deal, she said, adding that the most important thing in life is to “be close to your family.”
She enjoys daily visits from her family and delights in making new acquaintances. Rozier’s bright personality shows as she jokes with others.
It was her decision to move to the assisted living facility. Upon her first visit, she discovered a grade-school friend and said she doesn’t regret the decision to move one bit.
She remains very social and said she enjoys the activities offered at Willow Pond, including days when hairstyles are touched up and manicures are given.
As she greeted others just before lunch recently, Rozier said she looked forward to a family gathering planned to celebrate her 100th year.
And when asked about advice she would give to others hoping to live such a long and happy life, the perky Julia Rozier winked and said, “Don’t worry.”
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.