Centenarian Jeanette Anderson revisits home
|Jeanette Anderson, who turned 100 on July 6, sits in front of her family barn, which shares the same birth year - 1910.
Jeanette Anderson has witnessed a century of changes. She has seen people move in, families grow and the landscape transform. She has watched electricity and automobiles revolutionize the way people live, and has observed the cultural evolution of her county, region and country.
Anderson, who celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this month, returned last week with son Ron Anderson to their former family farm and home in what is now part of Fermilab's Village.
Anderson has lived all of her life in the Fermilab area, attending school in Batavia and working in DuPage County. She married her husband, Herbert Anderson, in 1942, and the couple had one son, Ronald. In 1956, they moved to the Anderson family farm. There, they raised livestock and crops.
She can vividly recall life on the farm, her family's busy schedule, and the importance of "making hay while the sun shines."
Anderson has especially fond memories of her neighbors. Members of this close-knit community supported one another in times of need, including toward the end of her husband's life.
"It was the neighborly thing to do and we had the best neighbors," Anderson said.
After the state of Illinois purchased the property in 1968 and Anderson moved to Geneva, Ill., she remained in close contact with her neighbors. Their stories have been shared through avenues like the Fermilab Site History Committee.
"We stay in contact with Jeanette and the families who lived here to preserve their histories," said committee member Adrienne Kolb. In addition to sharing these histories with present Fermilab users, committee members like Fermilab's Bob Lootens reintroduce former residents to their farm homes.
Today, the Anderson farm still stands on its original site at 10 Sauk Circle. The Anderson barn, erected in 1910, is the same age as Jeanette.
"If it weren't for the coming of Fermilab our farm and the farms around us would have been swallowed by more developments," Anderson said, "I like it much better as it is."
-- Daisy Yuhas