If you are lucky enough to meet Thelma Manges, one of the first things you will notice is her warm smile. Her kind manner and girlish laugh will instantly put you at ease.
This lively centenarian and her twin sister, Velma, were born in 1899 to H.B. Thomas and Lydia Breedlove (Thomas). At the age of 2 years, Thelma moved from her birthplace of Kileen, TX. to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.
The move to Oklahoma was quite an adventure for her siblings (one sister and 3 brothers) and parents. The family had to stay in a tent until her father had completed the construction of their farm house. The children saw their first cars and Native Americans while in Oklahoma. Thelma states she had been told by many to fear the Indians but she never did.
School was no easy task either, especially getting there. Thelma had to walk 5 miles to school. The long walk was worth it. When Manges reached the 8th grade, the school officials presented her with a diploma and made her a teacher because the children loved her so much.
By 1921, Thelma had met and married a handsome young man, Dave Manges. The couple married in Portales, N.M. but soon moved to Plainview, TX. where Dave opened Manges Motor Company. The Manges family soon grew to 5 with the addition of one son, Guy, and 2 twin daughters, Fay and Gay. Unfortunately, Gay's life was cut short in 1932 at the age of 8 due to a bout with meningitis.
Thelma was a great homemaker and mother. Her family always came first. Stories of her delicious meals, especially her famous biscuits and cornbread, still linger. Her wonderful biscuits and churned butter kept a constant flow of kids coming to her home. Her kind and giving nature at home was also shared with many of the needy in the community. She pieced quilts and lap robes for many of the ill in the area.
Besides putting a tremendous amount of time into homemaking, Thelma was always a faithful member of the Church of Christ church. As a member of the 9th and Columbia Church of Christ, she was active in many areas. She taught bible classes for years and used her beautiful alto voice in several of the church singing groups. She is also known as the unofficial historian of the church because of her plentiful knowledge of past events in the church.
When speaking of her advanced years, Thelma states that her "faith in God" has helped her cope with all that comes her way. She smiles and says "make the best you can of it."