Norma Blank is officially 100 years old as of Jan. 26, 2020.

“I was born Jan. 26, 1920,” said Blank as she sat and talked after dinner at the Morton senior center.

Blank was born in Missouri, and at around the age of one she and her parents made the trip north to Minnesota.

Norma said with a grin that she doesn’t remember that.

“My grandfather was a mover,” she said, adding over the years he had put up stakes in several locations, including Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota and Iowa.

Blank said family members tried to talk her parents out of heading north, as they figured the family would freeze and would never make it in the cold climate of Minnesota.

For nearly a century, Norma Blank has made it in Minnesota, and, for her, life has been good. 

Norma graduated with the Redwood Falls High School Class of 1937.

“During the summer of my junior year the school burned,” she said, referring to the building that once stood on Broadway (the site of St. John church today). “My senior year all of the students were at Lincoln school. We had classes at the Guild Hall, the library and even in the gymnasium.”

Not long after graduating, Norma’s life changed.

“I got married in 1938,” she said.

Norma said it was her brother who encouraged Norma to meet John Blank. The two were married and had four children.

Life has not always been easy for Norma, as she said one of her children died in childbirth. A daughter died as a result of a car crash (Norma spent more than 17 years caring for her daughter after that crash). All of her children preceded Norma in death. Her husband passed away in 1994.

Life also changed for Norma when her grandson came to live with her.

“He’s a good kid,” she said, adding he still lives with her today and takes good care of her.

Norma did various jobs during her life, but most recall the days when she worked at a cafe and later owned Blank’s Cafe in town. Norma was famous for her pie, and even later in life she would bring her famous caramel rolls to the senior center.

Norma still drives her own car to the senior center and to church, but she said does not drive out of town.

She gets to the senior center just about every day and enjoys playing Shanghai Rummy.

Norma said she is not sure why she has been able to live so long, adding in the end she enjoyed life, worked hard and always did what had to be done.