105 years and still counting

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 20, 2002

At age 105, Albert Johnson has lived through good times and bad. He has seen war, poverty, and even walked miles to parties and dances before the days of cars.

Johnson was born on a farm in the Waseca area July 5, 1897. The son of John and Englie Johnson, he was the tenth of 12 children.

Staying on his parent’s farm until age 24, Johnson fondly remembers his childhood. He enjoyed attending fairs, carnivals and visiting neighbors as a youth.

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Johnson still laughs about his memories of those &uot;Kids say the darndest things&uot; moments.

&uot;When I was about five years old my mother took me over to a neighbor’s to visit. The woman gave me a cookie and some milk and her and my mother sat and talked,&uot; said Johnson. &uot;I told her we had better cookies at home.&uot;

As a youth Johnson frequently entertained at dances with his brother Andrew. The duo played polkas, waltzes, and two-steps on their respective guitar and fiddle.

Johnson moved off the farm and began work as a mechanic in Waterville and Waseca. After loosing $20,000 when his bank collapsed during the Great Depression, he borrowed $1,200 from his boss and made a down payment on a farm.

Johnson married wife Jennie in 1938, and they had a daughter, Marge (Johnson) Mione, who Johnson has lived with for the past 12 years.

He farmed until 1964, then moved to Clarks Grove and worked on another farm in Hollandale. In his last occupation, Johnson worked at Albert Lea’s First Baptist Church as a janitor for 17 years.

Every year Johnson enjoys watching the crops grow and hearing how the area farmers are doing. Being hampered by hearing problems and difficulty moving, he also spends much time in his favorite chair reminiscing.

&uot;Me and this chair, we’re partners,&uot; Johnson quipped.

As for the secret of his longevity, Johnson doesn’t have an answer, but surely it has something to do with his continued good humor.