Anna Altermatt was born April 4, 1914 about a mile and a half from Wabasso; her birth date – 4/4/14 – was repeated this year as Altermatt turned 100 April 4, 2014.
Anna Altermatt was born April 4, 1914 about a mile and a half from Wabasso. Her birth date – 4/4/14 – was repeated this year as Altermatt turned 100 April 4, 2014. “I was born at home. At least that’s what they tell me,” said Altermatt with a smile. Altermatt’s life on the farm was short-lived, as her father passed away when she was very young. Her mother then opted to move the family into town. While living the typical child’s life in Wabasso, which meant going to school and enjoying time being outside with friends, that life decades ago was much different than one would experience today. After beginning her schooling in the public school, Altermatt finished her education at St. Anne’s school. “I went through the eighth grade,” said Altermatt, adding that was her choice. “I never really liked school that much.” Altermatt said her mother tried to convince her to continue in her education, but Altermatt had other plans.
“I went to work,” she said. “I worked for a lot of different people. It was my choice to quit school and go to work.” In a house where budgets were tight, Altermatt was able to help out and still have money to get some personal things, including her own clothes. Doing everything from house cleaning to farm work, Altermatt said she is glad for the experiences she had. Later in life, she started working at the Wabasso nursing home. In fact, she was there when the nursing home started. “I spent 17 years working there,” Alter-matt said, adding she worked in the dining area doing everything from serving food to washing dishes. “I really liked working there.” While Altermatt was not fond of school, she did enjoy history and learning about different parts of the world. “I love to travel,” said Altermatt, who visited Europe in 1973 and Israel in 1981. Altermatt met her husband, Alois, in Wabasso, and the two lived together, with him at Wabasso Mobile Oil. He passed away in October 1970. Altermatt recalled her husband liked to go dancing, and they often would spent nights at dance clubs. Anna said she particularly liked doing the waltzes. “We lived in town across the street from where I worked,” said Altermatt, adding that was a nice convenience. It also meant when the weather was bad and others could not get in she was often called to help. The family is hosting an open house in Wa-basso for Anna June 21 at the Wabasso community center. More about the event follows soon. Three years ago, Altermatt moved to Garnette Gardens in Redwood Falls. She said she likes her new home, but added she misses her real home back in Wabasso. Looking back at her life, Altermatt said she has no idea why she has been able to live so long, but she thinks the value of working hard for so much of her life attributed to it. “I always had a job someplace,” she said. Altermatt said her faith was also a big part of her life, adding it was a place for her to get involved in the community where she lived. Altermatt said life has definitely changed over the years, adding there was a time when just visiting with the neighbors was something you did a lot. Now people can’t find the time to stop and talk even for a little while. They’re too busy. Altermatt raised a family and had seven children. She also has 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Altermatt said it is important to take life as it comes. “I’ve never been much of a worrier,” she said, adding it is a good idea to find things you enjoy doing. Those who would like to help Altermatt celebrate her life are encouraged to attend the open house.