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  • Writer's pictureRoad Trip Class

103 Years Old and Still Counting

By Elisha Nelson

MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Margaret Moon offers a wide smile as family and friends honor her with a party on her 103rd birthday. Photo by Georgia Smith

Most of what Margaret Moon, the birthday girl, wanted to talk about as friends and family surrounded her were fond memories she made with others. At 103, that’s what’s important, she told them. Her blue eyes twinkled as she recounted stories from her century of living.

Moon, who is known as Mag to most, grew up and spent most of her adult life on South College Street in Winchester. She recalled days of being mischievous in grade school, playing pranks on her teachers. As she told stories, her infectious laughter filled the room, where family greeted her with an oversized greeting card that matched her diminutive size.

Born on May 24, 1919, Moon persevered through the world events that shaped humanity: the Spanish Flu pandemic, the Depression, WWII and other wars. And of course, the current Covid pandemic.

Life as a centenarian is slower, but she keeps up with many of the same tasks as before she moved to Franklin Manor. Such as doing her own taxes . A popular figure among the residents, everyone takes to her contagious smile and positive outlook. She fondly talked of her past, grinning ear to ear at the memory of dancing with tall handsome strangers when she was a young woman.

She married her husband, John Moon in 1958 when she was 39. The couple never had children but enjoyed their lives together, going to dances and town events, she said.

At her birthday party, Moon talked about her days as a radio disc jockey. “I liked doing it just for the fun,” she said. As she talked, her hands moved about, displaying her freshly painted pink nails and she leaned forward in anticipation of telling a story.

Moon wears a sticker declaring it’s her 103rd birthday. Photo by Georgia Smith

She said her favorite tunes are jazz, blues and country, and she passes the time with games of Rook and watching Shirley Temple films, a favorite since she was a child.

Moon recounted the days of her father as a circuit court judge and the way he approached his job. Her father, she said, was not very good at dishing out punishments for her brothers and sisters. Moon said he was a kindhearted man not only as a father but as a judge as well. Her mother was a musician and teacher and was always ready to respond to those needing help.

“She helped a lot of people that didn’t have much. We’ve been a happy family,” she said.

Moon loved to play the harp, which she learned from her mother, and enjoyed playing for others. In addition, she liked attending football and baseball games with friends, cheering in the stands.

She also liked to compete. “I played tennis. It was too fast for me but I loved swinging around my racket.”

Moon attributed her long life to abstaining from alcohol and smoking and refraining from worrying too much. It could be her positive outlook on life, where you can catch her always smiling,

“I had a good time wherever I was at,” said the birthday girl. “Being 103 is worth it and I hope I get to have 103 more.”

The staff at Franklin Manor made a large birthday card to honor Margaret, the facility’s oldest resident. Photo by Georgia Smith

Elisha Nelson is one of nine journalism students from Middle Tennessee State University who recently spent two and a half weeks in Franklin County writing stories for the Herald Chronicle. More of their work can be found at

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