Taking one day at a time

Published 12:28 pm Saturday, July 29, 2017

For Meta Gold Johnson Cutchin, there’s no secret as to how she’s been able to live to be 99 going on 100 years. Neither special diets nor unusual habits have been the source of her longevity.

Meta J. Cutchin, a resident of the Village at Woods Edge in Franklin, will celebrate her 100th birthday on Friday. She says her whole life so far has been blessed. — Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News

But she was once named Health Queen of North Carolina, owing to her dedication to a healthy lifestyle through exercise. Then there’s the fact that she’s been active in one way or another throughout her life.

Perhaps the best answer can be found in the philosophy that she’s developed over the decades.

“I take one day at a time. I say, ‘God, protect me and guide me each day. Give me the strength to do it,’” Cutchin said. “That’s my prayer every morning.”

A fitting response from a longtime member of Franklin Baptist Church.

On Monday, the Franklin City Council passed a resolution to commemorate her approaching centennial. The celebration of her life will be three-fold. A luncheon is scheduled for this Thursday. On Friday — the birthday — there’ll be cake and ice cream served in the dining room at the Village at Woods Edge,  which is where Cutchin has lived for many years. On Saturday, there will be a little celebration of her friends and family, including her son, Larry Johnson of South Mills, North Carolina.

“I was born and raised on a farm [Johnston, North Carolina] with lots of brothers and sisters. I loved the farm life … it was a very good life. My mother and father provided good, wholesome farm food,” she said.

Her parents were Thomas Edmund  and Katie Woodall Johnson; Cutchin said she was the “third from the bottom of 10 children; one of older sisters also lived to be 100. She never knew her grandparents, who were deceased before her birth on Aug. 4, 1917. There was her mother’s father, William Woodall, who she knew had fought in the Civil War.

For Franklin residents who have also lived here a long time, they’ll remember her businesses, Meta’s Beauty Shop and the Merle Norman Studio. She operated those for nearly 50 years before selling it to employee Mary Worrell. Before all that, of course, Cutchin went to a beauty school in Norfolk. She remembered a Mr. Lyon who had hired her right out of school to work at the Francis Beauty Shop.

After marrying John Lawrence Johnson, they had their only child, Larry Jr. But the couple also saw three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. After her spouse’s death, she later married William Holland Cutchin.

“Part of our great lives was being able to go conventions for Merle Norman Cosmetics,” said Cutchin, adding that they attended all but two of 49 annual gatherings. They went to places such as New York, the Bahamas, Florida and Hawaii.

The Cutchins finally retired to live at the Village in 1995, but he died not too long after the move.

“In my younger days, I enjoyed basketball and golf for years,” she said. Later activities have included her bridge group, a grief support group and outings with other women. Although she enjoys watching sermons on TV, Cutchin is still able to get around on her own and attends worship services and Sunday School; Cutchin also does her own shopping.

“I’ve had some knocks, but I got over them,” she said. “I’ve had a good life. Good brothers and sisters, wonderful parents and wonderful husbands. I’ve just been blessed.”