God had a lot of practice creating women before He decided to make a really special one for a loving family in San Saba, Texas. Elsie’s parents, Lee and Norma Oliver, welcomed her to the world on March 2, 1914. Many who know and love Elsie believe God put her here to show us how good genes, good livin’ and good humor can work together to create a truly extraordinary human being.
Elsie’s 96th birthday celebration took place at Pepperbelly’s Restaurant on Tuesday evening, March 2. Carol Littlefield organized the event which was attended by more than 80 people. Elsie was absolutely radiant and gloriously jubilant as friends and family gathered to express their affection and admiration. The food was delicious (especially the cakes made by Ted Red) and the service provided by Mission San Saba and the Pepperbelly staff was flawless. Lisa Schultze decorated the room and Mindy Cantu took pictures.
The best part of the evening were the stories shared by many of Elsie’s friends. It’s hard to believe that diagramming sentences and fond memories could somehow be connected but more than one person recalled how much fun they had learning to diagram sentences in Ms. Elsie’s fifth grade class. Really, now, who besides Elsie could make diagramming fun? Several newcomers recalled how Elsie welcomed them to San Saba. Pat Belk said the only reason she knew most of the people at the party was because Elsie had introduced her to them!
Family members were also generous in their praise. Debbie Millican recalled shopping trips and family gatherings and expressed her deep affection for her mother-in-law. Debbie Shahan said she was once a student of Elsie’s and was now honored to be part of her family. Elsie’s granddaughter, Jill, also made heartwarming remarks.
The stories were true crowd pleasers. There was laughter and fun punctuated by tears of nostalgic joy.
Elsie’s family has deep San Saba roots. Her grandparents were Elizabeth and E. E. Risien. Elsie was born in a small house near Harmony Ridge Cemetery, went to Harmony Ridge School and graduated from San Saba High in 1931. She attended Tarleton Agricultural College and began teaching at Colony School in San Saba County. Soon, she was smitten by Winston Millican, a tall, people-loving rancher from San Saba County. Love blossomed and the two were married four years later. Elsie and Winston had three children (Mike, Kay and Bob) all of whom still live in the area. She has seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Everyone who knows the Millican Family admires them. When asked about her philosophy of raising successful children, Elsie offered three pieces of advice. First, go to church as a family and introduce children to the Lord early in life. Second, spank ‘em if they need it—but not too hard. And, always give them a few warnings before reaching for the paddle. Finally, show them lots of love.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Elsie and the Millican Family, stay tuned.
Christian Mixon, a local videographer and husband of Linda Mixon (the senior center director), is editing the video from the party plus an interview with Elsie that will soon be available on the internet. We’ll let you know when God’s extraordinary creation makes her debut on the world wide web!