On Wednesday, March 7, one Brazil woman will reach a milestone few people have -- turning 100-years-old.
Helen Howald has lived a life full of love, faith and optimism, and she is still going strong.
"I don't know (how I feel about turning 100)," Helen said. "I can't believe it."
Helen was born in Parke County in 1912. When she was 2-years-old, her parents moved to Brazil. Her first job after graduating from Brazil High School in 1930 was as a housekeeper for a family living in Brazil.
Once while hanging out in Forest Park with her sister and a friend, Helen was approached by two young men. One of them, Richard Howald, said to the girls, "Who would like to get one of those flowers and pin it in my button hole?" Helen said she would and after pinning the flower, the two young men walked the girls home.
"We started dating right after that," Helen said.
The two began dating during The Great Depression so both had to stay and help their parents at home. Four years later, in 1934, Helen and Richard got married.
"President Roosevelt said everyone has to be paid $14 a week, and the man Richard worked for said he couldn't afford it," Helen explained. "So we moved to Louisville, Ky."
The couple moved based on where Richard could find employment and ended up living in Louisville, Nashville, Tenn., Springfield, Tenn., LaPorte, Ind., and Terre Haute.
"He went from one place to another," Helen told The Brazil Times. "We didn't settle down until after the war."
Knowing he'd be drafted for World War II, Richard volunteered so he could choose his military branch. While he was off fighting, Helen began work in Indianapolis at Bridgeport Brass, making artillery shells. She also went to business school for three months. After working for a grain broker company until 1946, Helen and Richard moved to Maryland where their son Denis was born.
"We stayed there until 1952 when we came back to Brazil," Helen said. "We've been living on the land (Richard) was born on. I guess he wanted to come back home, and that was alright with me."
Since 1948, Helen has been a homemaker, raising her son Denis and taking care of her home.
"She is a really good mom," Denis said. "One of the things I'll always be indebted to her for is she gave me a love for reading. She started reading to me at a very early age. Now I'm a veracious reader."
Denis said he would always have memories of his mother hanging laundry out on the clothesline.
"She helped my dad with the gardening and lawn care, and she was always a good cook," Denis said.
When her husband became ill, Helen, at the age of 74, learned to drive a car for the first time.
"My husband wasn't well, and all the years we were married he didn't teach me to drive, because he was afraid that I'd have a wreck I guess," Helen said. "But he knew he wasn't going to live much longer, so he wanted me to learn."
At the age of 74, Helen received her first driver's license.
Since Richard passed away in 1988 from lung cancer, Helen has been keeping busy by doing housework and being involved in church.
Helen told The Brazil Times she began going to Sunday school when she was 8-years-old after her uncle bribed her. He told her if she went to Sunday school, he would give her $10 to buy a silk dress.
Helen is currently a member of Eastside Christian Church, Brazil, but because of health reasons is unable to attend.
"She's a good strong Christian and always has been," Denis told The Brazil Times. "She was always faithful in church while she was able to attend."
Bertha May Trout, Helen's niece-in-law, takes care of Helen by taking her to the doctor and looking after her.
Bertha told The Brazil Times Helen has always liked to cook, read, go to church and do yard work.
"She's a very congenial person, easy-going," Bertha said. "She has resilience; she always bounces back from difficulties. She has a good outlook on life and has a deep faith."
Denis said one trait he wishes he'd inherited from his mother is patience.
"Whatever the circumstances, if times were hard, she'd always be optimistic and say things were going to be better," Denis said. "She's always cared for people and has a big heart."
Denis and Bertha are only two of the people Helen has cared for during her 100 years of life, and on her birthday they are sure to be two of the many who celebrate with her.