George Anderson, of Fairfield Glade, grew up in a children’s home during the Great Depression, after he was evicted along with his parents, brother and two sisters from their home.
Anderson was only 2-years-old at the time. It was 1925, his father was out of work, and the Great Depression was on the horizon. The children’s home “was an orphanage,” he said.
Anderson doesn’t remember his family’s eviction, or his trip to the children’s home.
“I was told a picture appeared on the front page of a Chicago newspaper of my mother sitting in a chair at the curb in front of our home. She was holding me in her arms,” he said.
The Salvation Army took care of Anderson and his siblings until they were accepted by the children’s home. An older sister promised to take care of him at the home because he was so young, he said.
The experience of being “put out on the street” didn’t shorten his life. He turned 90 on Jan. 24. One of his sisters is 98. His brother died last month at 96.
When Anderson turned 90, he became the 15th member of the 90-Plus Club at the Cumberland Medical Center Wellness Complex at Fairfield Glade. The club is made up of persons who have been complex members for at least a year before their 90th birthday. They qualify for free membership. Anderson joined the Wellness Complex when he turned 89.
He tries to visit at least three times a week for physical fitness activities according to his wife, Betty. She was a physical education teacher during her working years. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Anderson attends the Wellness Complex Senior Tune Up class. One other day he rides a stationary bicycle, walks and works on a weight machine to strengthen his back.
“I have severe arthritis in my back, but I am feeling better with the exercises recommended by the Wellness Complex trainers” Anderson explained.
Anderson attended Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill. His education was interrupted by service in the U.S. Marine Corps in the South Pacific during World War II. Later be became an accountant for the Sundstrand Corp. and worked for 30 years in Rockford, Illinois. Sundstrand is now part of UTC Aerospace Systems.
The Andersons have been married 58 years. They met on the second tee at the Northern Illinois University golf course, Betty said. She was a student at the University in DeKalb, Ill. They were married a few months later. Golf is one of the things that attracted them to Fairfield Glade, more than 17 years ago. They have a daughter and two granddaughters.