Charity begins at home

Published 6:47 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lois Meitzler of Nicholson knows it is always better to give than to receive. Being homebound has not stopped her from doing charitable work for the community, but on the cusp of her 90th birthday, Meitzler has so much more to give than material things.

Meitzler was born and raised close to the land she still inhabits today. From this spot, she has seen many changes to Pearl River County. Growing up in the great depression, she is no stranger to hard work, yet she feels prosperous. “I was raised hard, but I still had a good life,” said Meitzler.

Traveling two miles to the Picayune school and back, everyday, on foot, was not the hardest part of Meitzler’s day. Once home from school, she would change out of one of the two dresses she owned, and get to work on the family farm. The work was grueling.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Her senior year, she was sent to school in the Kiln. The journey was approximately 18 miles on what was essentially like a cattle bus, over roads that were barely passable. Through it all, she still managed to graduate at the top of her class. Being so intelligent she would have been able to go to college, but financial obstacles forced her to go to work instead.

For 15 cents an hour, Meitzler toiled on a button making machine, in a factory located where the old Chimney Square building used to stand. At some point, she married Clyde Meitzler, and together, the couple had 11 children.

“There was no running water, but Momma never complained,” said daughter Kay Lee, who resides with her husband in Florida. Meitzler always took care of her children by sewing all of their clothes and feeding them with food she helped to grow. She helped take care of neighbor children too. “She always takes care of others before she takes care of herself,” said Lee.

Meitzler remembers having 10 dollars with which to buy presents for all 11 children, but she brags that her children never complained about what they didn’t get, because they had imaginations. “I love to brag on my young ones,” said Meitzler.

Today, her children are scattered all over the world, and they have given Meitzler 31 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. She is proud of the entire brood.

Meitzler has wisdom to impart, great stories, to tell, and no one leaves her house empty handed. She loves politics and has to point out the picture of herself standing next to Trent Lott. She has started a book about her life, and she has painted beautiful pictures which hang in her home. Due to cataracts she has had to quite painting, but she has several first place winning paintings to show for her past efforts.

Arthritis has also taken its toll on Meitzler. One of her daughters, a practicing nurse, suggested Meitzler do something with her hands. She is woman who must stay busy.

Meitzler decided to make throws. She now spends all of her time, and a lot of money making these blankets, which she either gives away, donates to fund raising events, or gives to graduating seniors of Picayune Memorial High School. She makes football blankets for the graduating football players and basketball blankets for the graduating basketball players to take with them to their college dorm rooms.

Whether it be words of wisdom, history lessons, or charitable work, giving comes in many forms. Meitzler has all of those covered. From her chair where she works on the blankets, Meitzler said, “I have lived a good life. I’m ready to go, but my kids keep patching me up.”