TORRINGTON – Charlotte Wiand will be celebrating her 100th birthday on Nov. 11. She has lived a long and amazing life in Goshen County. There is a card drop for her at First State Bank in Torrington.
Charlotte will be celebrating her birthday with her family and friends. The girls at the beauty salon she frequents, Salon 21, are also planning on throwing her a party.
Charlotte was born on November 11, 1922 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, with the last name Tate. She was one of four siblings. Her brothers’ names were Robert, Bill, and Harvey.
Her family originally lived in Iowa Center, a place that used to be between Torrington and Cheyenne. Next they lived in Lyman, NE and then finally they settled in Torrington.
In Torrington, Charlotte’s father worked for the Holly Sugar Company and her mother took care of their home and children.
As a child, Charlotte lived through the Great Depression.
“We had ice boxes at that time, and you could buy chunks of ice,” Charlotte said. “When the train would come in, the guy would let us go out there and unload all that ice. It was to take care of the vegetables on the way here from Cheyenne. We would take our wagon and get our ice and take home with us.”
“She has stories of her and her brothers taking a wagon out along the train tracks to pick up coal to heat the house,” Ed Wiand, Charlotte’s son, added.
She spoke fondly of several childhood memories like going swimming in the river, going to roller skating rinks, and taking hot air balloon rides. Thanks to the colder climate back then, Charlotte and her brothers used to ice skate on the North Platte River and ride snowmobiles in the deep snow.
“We went to Henry once and this horse and buggy was tied up in front of the church,” Charlotte recalled. “We, as kids, got on the buggy and drove around the block and then put the horse and buggy back. Never heard anything about it, but I remember doing it. I don’t remember who all was with me. I didn’t do the driving, but I rode with them.”
“At that time, there were dances every Saturday night somewhere around the area,” Charlotte continued. “All of the girls sat on the benches and the boys stood and would go and ask the girls to dance.”
It was at one of these dances that Charlotte met her husband, Roy. They got married a couple of years after high school and had a son and a daughter together, Ed and Kay. After they married, they lived in California for a short while.
In Torrington, Charlotte and Roy lived on the Holly Sugar Feed Yard for at least 18 years before moving into town. Roy, ran the feed yard, taking care of 7,000 head of cattle. Charlotte ran a high-class dress shop, called The Smart Shop, on Main Street.
When World War II happened, Roy was exempt from the draft because of the importance of his job taking care of the cattle.
Throughout Charlotte’s life, there were many different changes to home appliances because of new inventions. Microwaves and televisions were introduced to homes, and appliances changed from regular wood stoves to electric stoves and iceboxes to refrigerators.
“I remember as a young child, this piece of furniture in the living room and it had an electric plugin,” Ed recalled. “You’d plug it in, and it would make static. That was before television came to Goshen County. I was six years old, that would have been 54, when we finally got television. We were the only ones in the county that had a television set.”
Throughout her life, Charlotte loved to play golf, water ski, roller skate, and bowl. She had two hole-in-ones at the golf course here in town.
“We looked forward to (the drive-in theaters) every evening,” Charlotte said. “It’s so amazing the things that have happened in the last 50 years even.” So many things have changed.
Charlotte would like everyone to remember her sense of adventure and how she loved to cook for her family. She misses the meadowlarks that used to sing and all of the little things that people used to do.
“(People) don’t use their china anymore,” Charlotte reminisced. “They don’t do anything that was so beautiful to do, and dinners to have. Now they use paper plates and buy their stuff. I don’t know it’s just a different world than it used to be. And it’s just sad to think of the way they’re dressing now. We used to dress up to go to church. We used to dress up to do this and do that. We always felt so good to get dressed up, and now they just don’t even do that. I think I miss having people dressed up when I go places.”
Recently, Charlotte received a letter and certificate from the Governor of Wyoming to congratulate her on her birthday and all that she has lived through.
Charlotte said, “Hopefully I won’t lose any more hearing than I already have. I can’t hear, and I can’t see, but other than that I’m doing pretty good.”