Cecil “Pops” Bennett

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cecil “Pops” Bennett, a lifelong Picayune resident, is this week’s Super Senior because, as his grandson Adam Bennett says, “For being retired he’s one of the hardest working people I know. His business sense and generosity is unmatched, teaching us, his grandkids, many life lessons.”

Bennett was born in Bogalusa, La. but cannot remember living there. His dad was from Picayune and the family moved here soon after he was born.

He worked from a young age and learned about a good work ethic, the value of money and rewards of saving it.

“I started working at the age of 12 in the fields before going to Paul Frierson’s grocery store. He turned me loose and I guess I had a lot of responsibility for someone of that age,” he says.

“I worked all of the jobs I could one summer, working for other folks that farmed, mowed yards and used the little tractor that my dad bought me to clean around tung trees. I worked the whole summer and after saving all the money I made was still shy about $6 for my new bike. My dad made up the difference and I had my bike.

“We got our first television by my dad and I going in half. I was so proud when we brought it home,” he recalls.

When asked about the love of his life for the last 60 plus years, his wife Sally Bennett, he says, “I saw her at Nicholson school and said, “That is mine. She was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. I thought I was gonna lose her before I got me a car; but we were married when she was 17 and I was 18. She is still the best thing that ever happened to me. We have two children and grandchildren.”

Bennett purchased Carp’s Boston Store with a handshake and then acquired the small business loan to complete the purchase.

“We never missed a payment but Sally sure worried a lot about it. When we decided to close it down, plenty went out front for free and it was taken to be put to use. The economy was bad back then, too,” he says.

He is well informed on antiquities and loves to watch Antiques Roadshow, American Pickers, Westerns and the forensics shows. He prefers John Wayne in westerns and loves the fact that he sometimes catches the experts on the Roadshow in error.

“Most of those experts are pretty good, but every once in a while they get it wrong,” he says, laughing.

Bennett has a wealth of knowledge on all things old. He makes extra money to supplement his income on ebay and goantiques.com.

His impact on Picayune is notcontributions he made to the business community as a small business owner or the lives he has touched throughout; it is through his children and grandchildren who have learned his lessons on the meaning of family and striving for goals.