Photo by Frank Prager
LaVerne Logston at her home with a quilt she made.
GODFREY — The key to aging well is usually found in activities and habits formed early in life.
At the age of 92 and still independent and active, LaVerne Logston continues to follow a lifestyle of intellectual and educational interests established in her younger days.
Born and raised in a farming community north of Chicago, Logston pursued a college education at a time when many failed to even make it to high school.
“There were five children in my family and I was the only one who went to college,” she says.
Graduating from Libertyville High School in Northern Illinois, she went on to get her two-year teaching certificate at the university in DeKalb, Ill. She says she worked anywhere she could get a job at the time, noting one job was at a bank doing bookkeeping for World War II ration coupons.
“The coupons were treated like money during that time,” she says. “The banks kept detailed records on them.”
She began teaching at the age of 20 and remembers a very different educational environment from the one children are in today.
“I taught in one-room school houses for four years,” she explains.
She also notes she drove to her job in a second-hand Pontiac her father bought her under the condition that she took him wherever he needed to go because he did not drive.
She notes the only time she did substitute instead of full-time teaching was when her children were very young.
“I took off full-time teaching for seven years when my kids were born because they didn’t have day care back in those days,” she says. Logston has two daughters and one son. She also has six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Moving to the Alton area in the 1950s, Logston taught in the Alton school system for 33 years, retiring in 1983. During her teaching career, she taught grade school at McKinley, Godfrey and Irving schools. She also completed her bachelor’s degree in education at Shurtleff College in Alton.
Logston has always loved travel and, even while teaching, worked as a travel guide for Presley Tours so could travel during the summer months.
“I’ve traveled to all 50 states and Canada on bus tours,” she explains. She has also traveled extensively internationally, including travel to Europe and Iceland as well as cruises to Jamaica and the Caribbean.
Active in retirement with hobbies and other interests in addition to traveling, Logston started the quilting group at Senior Services Plus in 1985. This is the 30th year for the group and she still goes to the meetings twice a week to quilt with the other members.
Different from most of the machine work done by quilters today, the Senior Services Plus group participates in hand quilting, where the quilt is attached to a frame and the quilters use a needle and thread to do the actual work.
“We enjoy the camaraderie in the group as much as anything,” she says.
She says it takes 4 to 8 weeks for the group to complete a quilt, depending on how detailed it is.
Logston shows no signs of slowing down, even in her 10th decade. She points out her mother lived to be 105. When asked the secret to her vitality at her age, she laughs and modestly says, “I guess I have good genes.”
Good genes may help, but lifetime habits of learning and active interests also keep this area senior going strong.