EDMOND — On her 21st birthday, Rosemary Jane Magee took a moment to look at a card made by her great-grandson.
A great-grandson at 21? Try nine great-
Magee was born 84 years ago on Feb. 29, a day that comes around once every four years, making it her 21st actual birthday. Her family threw a party in Edmond to celebrate.
She was born in Carmen in 1928, the youngest of six children born to Elza and Byrd Neese in the house her grandfather built on land he claimed in the land run of 1893.
Growing up during the Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II meant not having much and working hard for what you did get, Magee said.
She worked two jobs before she was married, in an icehouse for 50 cents a day and as a movie theater projectionist for $1.50 a night. She liked the theater job best, except that she had to wear nylon stockings.
“With the war going on, those were so expensive — they were a dollar a pair, and I had to have two pair!”
A local boy, Jack Magee, who was serving in the Army Air Corps during World War 11, sent letters and French perfume to Rose
When Jack Magee returned from war, where he flew 51 combat missions as a radio waist gunner on a B26 Marauder, Rosemary spotted him one day at the Carmen post office.
“Hi Jack, good to see you home,” she called to him as she walked past. She said he went home and told his parents, “I met the girl I'm going to marry.”
The next Monday morning, he picked her up on her way to school, and their courtship began. They were married Christmas Day 1945.
They lived at first at the Magee family farm southwest of Carmen. In 1951 they moved to Kansas and raised their family in Belle Plaine.
Jack Magee worked as an aircraft repair and modification mechanic at Air Force bases across the United States. After their two sons left home, Rose
They moved back to Carmen in 1985.
“I take a lot of kidding,” she said during her recent party in Edmond. “They say, ‘Now you're old enough to start drinking,' but I'm not interested in that!”