Mama Bessie Flourney Celebrates 100th Birthday

Mama Bessie

“Since she was a little girl, she told everyone that she prayed to God to let her live to 100. She would always tell us that when we were growing up, and here we are! He answered her prayer,” says Mama Bessie Flourney’s son Andrew Lawson. 

Mama Bessie lived on the outskirts of Texarkana her entire life. She moved to Texarkana in 2004 after spending the majority of her life working with children, raising them, and educating them. “She worked for a Head Start program until she was 83 years old. Young children and old folks knew not to mess with her. Growing up she always took in kids. She would give a home to children that no one wanted. She began raising children when she was 17 and she never really stopped raising them. Those children never asked to come into this world, but she took care of them,” says Andrew. 

Mama Bessie and son Andrew Lawson

 “I honestly forgot that today was my birthday. I keep moving it so I don’t lose it,” she said as she wiggled in her chair. “You have to keep exercising, keep moving or you will lose it! Shake it, don’t break it!,” Bessie noted while laughing. When asked what helped her live to 100 years young her response was, “God and apple cider vinegar!” “She was a huge proponent of apple cider vinegar. She used to take it before it was even all over the shelves!  Someone in California once called her because they were going to start selling it for products and they knew she was the lady to advise them!,” said son Andrew. 

When she moved to Texarkana she joined the New Baptist Bible Fellowship Church, and their pastor Tony Patterson and wife Sandra arranged a drive-by honk and wave birthday party for Miss Bessie outside of Reunion Plaza where she currently resides. “She is the oldest member of the church,” said daughter Willie Wilson. “Treat everyone the way you want to be treated,” said Mama Bessie. “But don’t forget. Move it or you’ll lose it!” 

Happy 100th Birthday Miss Bessie!


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