by Jennifer Pilcher-Roy, Staff Writer

Hood County News On-Line Edition – March 9, 2000

A Cherry Voter

“I remember when we heard about the Titanic sinking,” Estelle Cherry of Granbury says. “Momma and Daddy could sing real good and they began to sing ‘Amazing Grace.’”

“Miss” Cherry, 96, has a tub full of memories like that. Miss Cherry was born on Dec. 13, 1903 in Tolar. Four days after her birth, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the first airplane.

Estelle Cherry, 96, is a devoted Democrat. She has never voted for a Republican in any election. The 1924 elections were the first Miss Cherry then 21, voted in with the help of her grandfather.

Miss Cherry’s parents Molly and Jim Cherry farmed near Tolar. The Cherrys reared eight children–six girls and two boys.

“I don’t remember much about voting,” Miss Cherry sighed. “But I do remember that first time. My grandfather had me by the hand and took me into the bank to vote.”

Miss Cherry voted in her first presidential election in the mid-1920s. In each of the presidential elections during the 1920s a Republican was elected to office. It wasn’t until the 1933 election that Miss Cherry’s choice of candidate was elected into the Oval Office —Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt’s 12-year tenure in office would become the longest of any American president.

“Roosevelt did so much for this country,” Miss Cherry praised. “My Uncle Charlie made a cane and gave it to him. It’s in the Roosevelt Museum in Georgia.”

Miss Cherry went to early vote yesterday to beat the crowds on primary day Tuesday. That makes 20 straight elections in which Miss Cherry cast a ballot for president.

Miss Cherry graduated from Tolar and went on to attend Tarleton College and North Texas Teaching College.

“I was so poor when I went to college I would do just about anything for money,” Miss Cherry said. “I swept floors and steps and even scrubbed toilets to make a little spending money.”

When Miss Cherry was at North Texas she was asked to be a dormitory supervisor. “I guess they chose me because I was older than most of the girls and more responsible.”

After graduating from North Texas with a degree in home economics, Miss Cherry returned to Hood County to teach.

“The first school I taught at was Rocky Point in east Hood County,” Miss Cherry recalled. “It was a one-room schoolhouse. I taught there until a tornado came and blew the school down.”

Miss Cherry then spent two years teaching at Kosse in East Central Texas and 26 years teaching at Granbury High School.

“I remember Miss Cherry always had a saying,” former student Rosie Mimms said. “As you sew so shall you rip.”

Yes, “rip,” not “reap” because when you sew you must be able to rip out the stitches if you make a mistake. In life you must also recognize your mistakes, repair the damage and go on, Miss Cherry was implying.

“That’s a life lesson,” Mimms said about Miss Cherry’s saying.

After retiring in the mid-1960s Miss Cherry spent much of her time with social clubs. She’s a member of the Eastern Star and the Woman’s Wednesday Club.

She also enjoys quilting and playing dominoes. In 1998 a quilt that Miss Cherry pieced was donated to the First United Methodist Church Lord’s Acre. The quilt was auctioned off for over $1,600.

Miss Cherry never married. “I didn’t see any need to get married. My life was too full with my family and kids from school,” she explained.

Politics have been an important part of Miss Cherry’s life. She says that her favorite president is Washington. A nephew was quick to point out that she was not alive when Washington was president. Miss Cherry simply laughed and said, “I guess not. Sometimes I do feel like I was alive when he was.”

Miss Cherry also admires Kennedy. With a sad smile she remembered the day he was assassinated. “He was just too young, he didn’t deserve to be shot.”

Miss Cherry was unclear on who she would be voting for yesterday, but she did know she was voting in the Democratic primary. She says she has never voted for anyone other than a Democrat.

“I don’t know about Gore or Bradley,” Miss Cherry said.

After she was told that Gore was vice president under Bill Clinton, Cherry said, “I’m still not sure whom I’m going to vote for.”