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Catalog Number 2005.2.1748
Object Name Newspaper
Scope & Content Copies: 1 ( 1 original newspaper clipping with image)

"'Impish Effie' Woodruff
shares a birthday smile
By Alfred C. Jones
Capital Journal Reporter
Woodburn--- Effie
Woodruff leaned forward
in her wheelchair and
squinted with her pale
blue eyes at the wording
on the cake set before her
in the Woodburn Care
Center.
She read every word
over and over, 'Happy
Birthday, Effie, 100,'
traced on the red, white
and blue icing, then
leaned back and smiled
briefly, as though it were
hard work.
Asked one of the aides,
'Did I see you smile,
Effie?'
The quiet reply from
the thin and tiny native of
the Woodburn area was a
quip: 'No, I'm not going
to smile.'
But she did, a little bit
wider and impishly, be-
cause Monday was her
special day reached only
by a few hardy and dedi-
cated persons.
Mrs. Woodruff has been
so tenacious about life
that she has recovered
from a fall a few months
ago suffered while walk-
ing to the bathroom, frac-
turing a wrist.
'Anything is all right
with her,' said Harriet
Anderson, director of
nurses. 'She's pleasant to
be around.'
Effie Hovenden Wood-
ruff started being around
Dec. 6, 1876, when she
was born in a house on
the line between Wood-
burn and Hubbard, a
house that is still stand-
ing.
Her story is that 'I
could be in the kitchen in
Hubbard and in the living
room in Woodburn.'
It was cake-cutting
time when her son and
daughter-in-law arrived
from St. Paul. Mr. and
Mrs. Edwin Woodruff sat
near her to chat and to
test the once-in-a-century
cake.
Effie Hovenden Wood-
ruff raised her eyes and
said softly, 'Hi, son.'
'Hello, mother,' said
the 74-year-old son.
Edwin Woodruff is the
only living child of Effie
and Lester Woodruff,
married in 1901. Two oth-
er sons are deceased. She
has five sisters and three
brothers she left when she
and her husband home-
steaded for four years in
Alberta, Canada.
'It was a hard life in
Canada,' she said. A few
moments later she added,
'But I got used to it..'
Returning in 1908, the
Woodruffs acquired a
farm west of St. Paul, and
her husband became a
salesman and mail carrier
until he died in 1934.
Effie Woodruff's next
visitor was Minnie Kea-
gle, 91, a shirttail relative
who walked over from
another nursing home.
She sat beside the centen-
arian who wore a sky blue
robe iwth lacy white col-
lar and fuzzy slippers of
sapphire blue.
Mrs Anderson cut off a
bite of cake on a fork and
offered it to Effie Wood-
ruff. She chewed it ques-
tioningly at first, then ac-
cepted other bites more
enthusiastically until she
paused:
'Better save soem for
supper.'
'And how about saving
some for the cat?' asked
Mrs. Anderson, who add-
ed that Effie 'always
saves some for the kitty
from all of her meals.'
There isn't a kitty, but
Mrs. Woodruff remembers
once having a big tom cat
around to eat scraps.
'Are you getting
tired? " Mrs. Keagle
asked.
'Not tired, just lazy,'
said Mrs. Woodruff
'She's awfully sweet,'
said Mrs. Anderson.
'Would you believe that
she was picking beans out
in the fields in her 80s?'
After being up for about
45 minutes, Effie Wood-
ruff showed her fatigue
and an aide wheeled her
back to Room 1.
'I'm glad to be back in
bed,' she said, pulling the
sheet up around her neck.
She felt a hand that
reached to grasp her soft,
wrinkled one.
'Goodby, son,' she
said.
Title "'Impish Effiie' Woodruff Shares a Birthday Smile"
Collection Photograph Collection