By MARNIE McALLISTER
Record Assistant Editor
Ann Addie Everhart, born in 1911, grew up around St. Thomas parish in Bardstown, Ky., which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this month.
She attended an anniversary celebration at the small rural church July 1, where she shared her memories of the parish and a few tips for “growing to 100 years.”
Everhart was the eldest of 12 children, a distinction that brought a great many responsibilities, she noted during a conversation with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz. Her one escape, she said, was St. Thomas School where she could spend her time doing something for herself.
“It was everything in my life,” she said of the school and parish. With a chuckle, she added, “It got me away from home.”
Her memories — and story-telling — were clear as she recounted life in a Catholic family in the early 1900s.
While still in grade school, she said, she had to miss school one day each week to do the laundry for the entire family. On those days her teacher, Sister of Charity of Nazareth Mary Rita, sent her work home and Everhart caught up with the lesson when the laundry was done.
“When my momma had a new baby, I’d stay home for two weeks,” she added. That responsibility began when she was about 10 years old, Everhart said.
It was also her task to wake at 4 a.m. each day to make breakfast for her entire family.
Sister Mary Rita helped her to attend these duties with kindness, she noted.
“There was never a kinder, more encouraging teacher,” Everhart said.
Everhart grew up and moved to Louisville where she was involved in acting, dancing and modeling. Today, at 100, she seems to get around fairly easily. She’s a member of Holy Trinity Church in Louisville, but noted that when she read in The Record about the anniversary celebration at St. Thomas, “ ‘I said I have to get there.’ ”
Everhart’s daughter Mary Krider drove her to the celebration. She said that her mother is full of life and still grows her own vegetables and flowers. Her mother wore a corsage of pale pink carnations
Sunday which Everhart grew herself. She has entered her produce in the Kentucky State Fair every year for 40 years and intends to do it again this year.
Krider said her mother grows these things for one simple reason — “So she has things to give away.”
“She always thinks outside herself,” said Krider.
Her mother had seven children but lost two — her eldest daughter died at age 8 of a childhood illness and her eldest son died at 19 in a car accident. Despite these tragedies, Krider said, her mother’s sunny outlook has persisted.
She believes her mother was formed with these values at St. Thomas.
“She got the message that she was so valued and could do anything you wanted to do from Sister Mary Rita,” Krider said. “The impact that one human being can have on another is just amazing.
“The caring and encouragement and faith she got from Sister Mary Rita has had a ripple effect, out to her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews,” Krider added. “I marvel at that.”
Everhart has written “Ann Addie Everhart’s Tips for Growing to 100 Years,” and they were distributed after Mass.
They include suggestions that one avoid stress, “grow plenty of fruits and vegetables,” “keep learning and playing games” and “be around good, kind people.”