Weatherford Democrat

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June 19, 2013

At 105, Opal Bowden still independent, quick-witted

By BRIAN SMITH

Celebrating her 105th birthday today, Opal Bowden has a simple philosophy that she believes has gotten her through her long and productive life:

“I believe in making good use of the day God gave me and moving on,” Bowden said during a recent interview.

Her grandaughter, Kristie Wiggans, said in an e-mail Bowden has two other secrets, as well:

“1. Do not complain because no one wants to stay around a complainer. 2. If your bed calls for you to come lay down and be lazy, keep walking past it,” Wiggans said about her grandmother’s secrets to a long life.

Bowden was born near Garner and raised near Authon before moving to Weatherford, where she lived her adult life. Bowden is known through the city and Central Christian Church, where she has attended for more than 80 years, for her quick wit and her ability to make everyone feel welcome and important.

She operated Opal’s Beauty Shop out of her homes for many years so she could stay close to her family. Bowden said most of the time her shop was on West Josephine Street, which she jokes used to be on the outskirts of town but is now “smackdab” in the middle.

When she first opened her shop, many women weren’t used to the concept of a beauty shop, Bowden said. She used to offer a shampoo and wave or a manicure for 50 cents and a permanent for $1.

“I was able to make a lot of people look better and made some wonderful friends with the shop,” Bowden said. “I couldn’t wait to start work every day.”

Despite being retired for 40 years now, Bowden says she still maintains a tradition from back then.

“I used to clean house at night when I worked and I still do,” Bowden said. “I don’t go to sleep early. You won’t get me going to sleep at 5 p.m.”

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