Sylvia Hartman has a collection of toothpick holders that contains at least one for every birthday she’s celebrated.
Hartman, a 1937 Church Home graduate, turned 100 on February 3, telling the Journal News of West Virginia that the vast row of little glass and ceramic containers that fills the front windows of her Harpers Ferry home wasn’t really her idea at first. “I was teaching a Sunday school class in Baltimore, and one of the ladies came in weeping,” she told the newspaper. “She said, ‘I have a collection of toothpick
holders, and they’re sending me to a home and my granddaughter is going to throw them out.’ So that’s how I got started.”
After graduation, she began working at Johns Hopkins Hospital, soon met Harry, a garage owner, and they married in 1939. He died in 1976. Hartman also worked at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore and Newton D. Baker Veterans Hospital in Martinsburg, WV.
Hartman recently lost her sight and doesn’t hear well, but her mind is as sharp as ever. These days she counts her blessings and thrills at the chance to share her memories and keep up with the news of the day. Close neighbors visit regularly, and son David calls every night to catch her up on headlines. She has two grandchildren: Ashley Hartman of Baltimore and Heather Remillard of New York.
“There have been so many good days, I don’t think I could choose a best day,” Hartman told the Journal News.