If you ask Martha Shaffer her best advice for a long, healthy life, she will tell you she doesn’t give advice.

“This wasn’t my idea,” Shaffer says. “It was God’s plan and that is the way it is. It’s been alright, it’s been up and down and we’ve had lots of fun.”

Born November 27, 1921 to Nellie and Glenn Glick, Martha grew up in St. Louis Crossing and has known no other life than here, really.

After graduating early from Columbus High School in 1939, Shaffer went on to attend Purdue University where she graduated in just three years before marrying Wayne Shaffer in 1943.

Initially, Shaffer intended to become a dietician, but the war happened, she says.

“I went to school two summers and graduated in three years and got married,” she says. “Almost didn’t because my husband, Wayne, was drafted, of course, and Fort Benjamin Harrison didn’t want to let him out to be married. But they did and he left right after the ceremony and came back about 2 ½ years later.”

Together she and husband Wayne had three daughters, Candy, Susan and Sally. Wayne died in 2002.

During World War II, teachers were in demand. Shaffer had no idea she was going to be a teacher, she says, but she enjoyed every minute of her nearly 30 year career as an educator in Bartholomew County.

She began her teaching career in the one-room school house in St. Louis Crossing before teaching at Clifford Elementary for six years. Shortly before retiring in the 1980s, Shaffer rounded out her tenure in education as a teacher at Petersville and Clifty Creek Elementary Schools, respectively.

“It was something new every day,” Shaffer says.

However, Shaffer says she began to entertain the idea of retirement more with the advent of computers.

“I’m glad I got away from computers,” Shaffer says. “I got a taste of it and I was just about ready to retire. It wasn’t for me.”

Shaffer says she tried to give technology a chance, but even the few courses on computers she took made her head swim. The constant flux of new technologies makes Shaffer uneasy, she says, because you don’t know where it is going or where it could lead.

“Where is it going to end? You can’t go on forever,” she says. “Not even the sky is the limit anymore. It is puzzling. But, there again, God has a plan.”

In the late 1970s, Shaffer moved back to the family homestead just outside of town when her mother, Nellie, became ill. After her mother died, Shaffer and her family remained on the property where she resides today with her daughter, Sally.

“I never thought about being 100,” Shaffer says. “I had other things to think about. I just never thought about it until someone started talking about it.”

As she reflects on 100 years, Shaffer admits the changes and lessons have been a-plenty. However, one thing has remained as strong and constant as her constitution, and that’s her faith.

From as early as she can remember, Shaffer has attended church and prayed. Today, she regularly attends Hope Moravian Church with her family.

“There was never a question about whether or not we were going to church,” she says. “We just knew we went to church up the hill about a mile away. I went to school. I went to church every Sunday and that is just part of it. I trust God.”

Shaffer has diligently kept a daily routine throughout her life and that has helped her achieve such longevity, she says. Rising around the 7 a.m. hour every day, Shaffer makes sure she has breakfast before tackling the day, she says.

“It’s the most important meal of the day,” she adds.

Word scrambles and word finds are tools she uses to keep mentally sharp, she says.

Just as she passed on the knowledge of “every lesson, every day” to her students, children and grandchildren over the years, the same holds true with routine.

“Every day is fun, you keep going,” she says. “You don’t think about how old you are.”

However, Shaffer has found out that as time passes and slows, opportunities open up for reflection.

“Now, I have more time to read and meditate,” she says. “That is the best part of being retired.”

Another tool she uses to bolster her youthfulness, she watches TV with intention.

“I watch the news, but not all of it anymore – especially right now,” Shaffer says. “I watch with purpose, the TV isn’t just a noisemaker, I can’t take too much of it. And no afternoon soaps, I’m not tied down to the tear jerkers and all their family problems.”

Though she does miss being physically active as she was before, Shaffer still gets up and goes. She may not be able to mow the grass or attend water aerobics as she once did, but nothing stops her from taking walks and spending time outdoors and moving about.

As she recalls her time in St. Louis Crossing and Hope, Shaffer says much has changed and, yet, some things remain the same.

Aside from the physical changes in the area, there remains a close-knittedness among the residents that you simply don’t see anywhere else, she says.

“We are all family,” she says.

Shaffer’s youngest daughter, Sally, moved to the homestead to assist Shaffer several years ago. The 67-year-old says she simply tries to keep up with Shaffer and keep everything going.

“You do what needs to be done, that is what you do,” she says. “But she is very self-sufficient.”

Although Sally has had her own health issues arise, she is hopeful the Glick longevity plays in her favor, as well, she says.

Sally teasingly tells Shaffer she is Hope’s centenarian, so she has to set the example for others.

When asked if there are any nuggets of knowledge or words of wisdom she could offer those who read her story and want to also strive for a long life, she says, “Ask God to guide you, believe he will and you take it from there. He knows what He wants, you don’t. You think you do.”

Live simply each day, Shaffer adds. Talk to God. Pray. And let Him guide you.

Beyond that, work hard, laugh often and strive to do good.

As for the rest, well, you take it as it comes.

“I’ve had a good life, that’s all,” Shaffer says with a smile. “A good life.”