HOUSTON — Elizabeth Francis celebrated her 112th birthday on Sunday.
At 112, Francis deserves the parade neighbors put on at her north Houston home. She had an escort, wore a tiara, set up a well-positioned fan and was serenaded. The front-row seat to see her friends and family was all she needed to enjoy the day.
Francis' granddaughter, 66-year-old Ethel Harrison, said the pandemic put a damper on the celebration last year.
"Last year, with the pandemic, we didn’t get to do a whole lot," Harrison said. "So, we're just so blessed that we still have her."
At 112, Francis still recognizes her loved ones, watches the news and carries hope.
"She’s very, very spiritual. And a lot of her strength comes from her faith that she has in God," Harrison said.
Francis was born in 1909. William Taft had just become President of the United States. The NAACP was in its infancy, only a few months old. At 7, Francis watched women fight for the right to vote. She lived through World War I and the Spanish Flu. She survived the Great Depression and lived through World War II. The March on Washington happened days after her 54th birthday. She saw the images from Vietnam and kept up with the space race. She's seen technology evolve and saw a monumental shift in civil rights for Americans.
"She has seen an African-American President and she also has witnessed an African-American female Vice-President. Those are great milestones for her," Harrison said.
With everything she has seen, she still doesn't take for granted what's in front of her.
"She always told us as children, 'treat people like you want to be treated.' I think if we (all) took that motto, I think the world would be a better place," Harrison said.
It's solid advice whether you're 12 or 112. Many of us dream of a world where things are better. Francis is proof that some of us just might live long enough to experience the evolution for ourselves.