Willie Mae “Bill” Glosson turns 100

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Willie Mae “Bill” Brafford Glosson turns 100 years old on June 13th. A birthday celebration was held on Sunday at the Dulin’s Grove Church on Arlington Road where she was surrounded by her friends and family.

Willie Mae was born in a small house on Blair Road, close to Truelight Church Road. She was delivered by Mint Hill’s beloved country doctor, Dr. Ayer Whitley. At some point, she was nicknamed, “Bill,” and the name stuck. “I think my father wanted a boy,” Bill laughs.

Bill’s father, also named Edd, once found a piece of gold on the Brafford property that he kept hidden in the miniature grandfather clock that sat on the family’s mantle. Photo courtesy of Glosson family.

As a child, little Bill Brafford fetched wood for the cook stove and pumped buckets of water to bring into the house. Before the days of electricity, the Glosson family could be found gathered around an oil lamp at night. They would enjoy an occasional program on the battery-operated radio. The only washing “machine” was scrub board and lye soap, and the “refrigerator” was an ice box where large blocks of ice kept the food cool.

Bill remembers her parents, Edd and Florence, fondly. “Mother made delicious pies,” she says, “especially custard pies.” There was a gold mine on the Brafford property, and long creek just right for panning for gold. In fact, the grinding stone housed on the grounds of the Mint Hill Historical Society came from the Brafford property. Bill remembers her father finding a piece of gold once. He kept it hidden in a miniature grandfather clock that sat on the family’s mantle.

Bill attended Clear Creek School where she excelled, eventually becoming the Salutatorian of her graduating class. “I graduated from the 11th grade,” Bill beams. “They only had 11 grades back then.” She remembers entering an essay contest in nearby Cabarrus County and winning the second place prize of $15 for her essay on citizenship. She bought her white graduation dress and shoes with the money and was able to give the Salutatorian speech in style.

“They were always stylish dressers,” Donna Dressel says of her grandparents. Photo courtesy of Glosson family.

After graduation, Bill went off to the big city of Charlotte to work at S&W Cafeteria on Trade Street where she made salads. One day she stopped by the Belk department store and ran into a former schoolmate, Edd Glosson. The two had known each other in school, and Edd asked for a date. Later, Edd took her to the Charlotte fair where he proposed at the top of the Ferris wheel. The two were married almost 54 years before Edd’s death in 1992.

The young Glosson family around 1948. Photo courtesy of Glosson family.

During their marriage, Bill and Edd had three children – Linda Glosson Perault, and twins Ted and Edd Glosson. Linda has fond memories of attending her mother’s home church of Arlington Baptist every Sunday. “On Saturday nights, Mother would sit in a rocker and read her Sunday school lesson after she had polished our shoes and ironed our clothes for church, and we would play in the floor around her and listen to the radio,” Linda says.

Bill Glosson on her 85th birthday with her children, Ted, Edd, and Linda. Photo courtesy of Glosson family.

It wasn’t until the mid-50s that the Glossons bought their first television set, a black and white model. The family watched Elvis Presley’s first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956. They also watched the news coverage of the Vietnam War while their son, Edd, served there as a radio relay operator in the army. Their other son, Ted, also served in the Army at Ft. Riley for two years.

Edd and Bill Glosson were married for almost 54 years. Photo courtesy of Glosson family.

These days, Bill is settled into her new home at Clear Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Her three children visit her often and are very attentive to her. She also has eight grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.

At Clear Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Bill says she enjoys winning at bingo. Her daughter, Linda, (left) and sons, Ted and Edd visit often.
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