Posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 at 3:14 pm.
What is the secret of a long and happy life? Mrs. Cholie Slice will tell you, “It’s helping somebody else. That’s all I’ve ever done.”
The week after Mother’s Day this year, she moved out of the house on Lexington Avenue where she has lived since 1938, and into a room at Generations of Chapin. While she can’t say much for the food service, she is pleased that she has more company than she had when living alone. She says she has seen “so many people” who know her, who stop by and visit.
She has made many acquaintances over the years, having worked in the lunchroom at Chapin Schools for 21 years, beginning in 1949. Then she worked another four years as a cook at the first of “Knocky” Jackson’s restaurants by the Red and White grocery store (where Chapin Furniture is now located).
She gave up cooking for the public in 1971, but she stayed busy carrying food to her mother, who had broken her hip and was in the Lowman Home. While she was there she volunteered to assist in the care of other elderly residents, before being hired as a nurse’s assistant. She worked there for five years.
“I worked public work for 30 years,” she says, and for very little pay. “I worked at the school house for $1.50 a day. They were charging the students enough to pay us. The most I ever got was $25 a month.
At the Lowman Home she worked until she turned 75 and had to retire.
“I have no regrets about wherever I worked,” she says. “I enjoyed it. I enjoyed all I have ever done working for people. That’s about all I ever did do was work for people.”
Evelyn Cholie was the fourth child, and the baby of the family, born to Wade Hampton “Hamp” and Ella Rauch on Aug. 19, 1911. She was born in a house on East Boundary Street, below Mt. Horeb Lutheran Church.
Norris “Knocker” Slice, who was to become her husband, was born in a house across the same street, which belonged to Daniel Shealy.
But the Rauch and Slice families moved in separate directions after the two were born. Knocker grew up a member of St. Jacobs (Wateree) and Cholie, was a member of St. Peter, Piney Woods. Cholie attended Pine Ridge School on what is now Frick Road, off of Amick’s Ferry. Knocker attended Spring Hill School near where Spring Hill High School is now located.
Growing up in Chapin was not the easiest life. Cholie remembers having to work to get by. “We ate out of the garden. Nobody had any money back then. We never did go hungry, but we went to bed lots of nights with just a meal of fresh baked bread, cream and molasses.”
She remembers a beef club, where several families would butcher a cow and divide up the meat. Her mother placed meat in bags and lowered it deep into the well to keep it cool until it was consumed. “We would trade out meat, chickens and eggs at Worth Goza’s store for other things we would need like cheese, sugar and rice.”
She remembers the heyday of the railroad and the trains stopping to get water. “That bell rang all the time while they were getting water.”
But Cholie did not go down to the tracks to see passengers arriving as some others did. “I don’t think papa would let us.” He was protective of his children, herding them into one room when storms came up.
Knocker and Cholie finally met years later at a peanut picking at the Bush family homestead, near where Cholie’s family lived. They were married on Dec. 23, 1933. They stayed for a while in the Haile house on Clark Street, and then the idea come up to build their own home.
John Bickley told them he could build a nice little four-room house for $500. Knocker, who never borrowed anything if he could get by with it, held off until he could earn enough money to pay for it. He had a dump truck, and worked as an independent contractor hauling lumber.
He bought the land on which the house is located for $75 from Mrs. Kate Bushardt. Their daughter, Phyllis was 18 months old when they moved into their new home.
The Slices became members of Mt. Horeb Lutheran Church on Palm Sunday in 1941. Phyllis had been baptized in the Wateree Parsonage, across the street from the church. And their son, Bernard, was born in August of that year.
Cholie and Knocker were among the leaders at Mt. Horeb. Both sang in the choir for 38 years. She taught the first graders in Sunday School, along with Mrs. Kathleen Cannon. And with other members of the church’s Ladies Aid Society, she kept the brass polished and the church clean.
Cholie has worn well her years of hard work. She may be the most youthful 103 year old you will ever see. She says that occasionally she will see “some of the children I’ve fed at school. And some of them come up to me and say, ‘Miss Cholie, you look just about like you did back when we were in school.’ And now they have children, and grand children, and they expect me to know them.”