From Birmingham to Pittsburgh Carter celebrates 111th birthday

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Even though she didn’t say a word other than happy to see you, glad you came with a sweet smile and loving the attention, the birthday girl Flossie Aldridge Carter sat in her reclining love seat as family members, friends and staff greeted her with birthday wishes on her 111th birthday, June 2.

Even though Flossie Carter had little to say her family spoke for her at the family celebration at the UPMC Heritage Place residence, where she has lived for several years.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY—Miss Flossie Aldridge Carter smiling as they bring her cake and ice cream on her 111th birthday.

Gurelene Carter, her daughter, said, “My mother is a baseball and football fan and loved to play the lottery. She loves the Pittsburgh Pirates and when they would come on everything would stop in the house.

“My mother is a very good mother to us and she took care of my children and the house while I worked in Birmingham.”

Flossie Carter cleaned buildings all over the city as well as planted flowers along the highways most of her life. She was born one of seven children to Tom and Lela Aldridge in Mountain Spring, Ala., on June 2, 1900. Her mother was a seamstress and her father was a farmer. Following her father’s death in 1915 her mother had to move the children to Gold Hill, Ala., to stay with their uncle. Flossie’s mother moved the children again to Birmingham, Ala., in 1918 because her aunt passed.

Carter was married and had three children in Birmingham. Her two girls were Gurelene, who lives in Ohio, and Mania Rose, who lived in Birmingham, and her son Carl who lives in Rhode Island. Rose passed in 2006. The family stayed in Birmingham until her husband’s death. Carter then moved to Battle Creek, Mich., as a young lady in the early1940s until around 1954 when she moved to Pittsburgh’s Homewood community and lived there until she had to move to UPMC Heritage Place in Squirrel Hill in 2004 because of age.

Carter took annual trips back to Birmingham to visit family and took her grandchildren with her on many occasions. Her last trip to Birmingham was in 1969.

Granddaughter Delaine Harris said, “When we were kids in Birmingham, grandma walked us downtown and that was a distance like an hour’s walk there and an hour’s walk back to go to town and visit one of her aunts but we just took our time and walked.”

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl wrote a touching letter to Miss Carter, as well as, giving her a proclamation marking June 2 as Miss Flossie Carter day in the city of Pittsburgh. They were presented by the mayor’s representative, Ed Gainey, who read it to her.

At 111 years old Carter has lived through almost every change this country has gone through from segregation, industrialization, wars, inventions, depressions, assassinations, technology advances and short comings, and from horse and buggies to jet airplanes, world series, Stanley Cups, Super Bowls, and 20 different presidents,especially the first Black president.

Shawn Carter, Carter’s great-grandson said “great grandma could cook, I love her pound cake, rice pudding and love her homemade soup.”

Great-granddaughter Kelly Harris said, “She took care of me from birth to about 5 years old until I moved, but we used to eat Mary Jane penny candies and we used to catch the Lincoln Avenue bus to Sears in East Liberty and we would get fresh hot Spanish peanuts.”

Gerald Sanders grandnephew said, “I remember grandaunt always on the phone with my grandmother for hours and she would get off the phone and tell me stories about the old days.” Miss Carter was a loving and hard working mother, grandmother and great grandmother hearing members of her family speak of her.”

Family, residents and some staff sang “happy birthday” to a smiling Flossie Carter as she sang along with them.

(To see video footage of Ed Gainey from the mayor’s office reading the Proclamation and Miss Carter singing Happy birthday log onto http://18ricco.newsvine.com.)

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