On May 6, 1915, The Colossus of Clout, Babe Ruth, hit his first major league home run – he was just 15 years old.
For longtime Colusa County Resident, Gladise Lund, she was just two months old.
Celebrating her 100th birthday in March, Gladise joined her friends and family in a great celebration at Maxwell Inn.
“It was a wonderful day,” said Gladise smiling ear to ear, “My brother brought his 1915 Ford Model T, Touring Sedan and we rode from my house to the party.”
Born in Chuquicamata, Chile to Wesley and Emma Green, Gladise and her family moved to the United States when she was two years old.
Gladise’s father worked in the lumber industry and moved around Humbolt County.
In 1929, Gladise recalled the day when her father came home from work and gave them all bad news.
“He sat us all around the table and told us that he had lost his job, he had lost all of his savings, and things didn’t look good,” said Gladise, “yet he told us not to worry, that he had a head on his shoulders and he was going to figure things out and would be okay.”
Sure enough, Gladise’s father started a wood business and made a good living.
“Everyone burned wood in those days,” said Gladise, “From the cooking stove, to heating their homes, wood was a great source of income.”
Gladise even got into the wood business for a short time in High School when she and her sister wanted a new sweater and skirt.
“Everyone was wearing these pretty sweaters and skirts,” said Gladise, “I asked my father if he could get me a new sweater and skirt and he told me to sell some wood, and I would earn my sweater and skirt.”
During her lunch break, Gladise went to town to the mercantile and spoke with the owner.
“I went in and made an introduction, though he already knew who I was,” said Gladise, “I asked him if he needed any wood for his home and he said yes he did, and he bought ten cords.”
Later that evening, Gladise told her father that she sold ten cords of wood.
“He was shocked and amazed,” said Gladise, “he was so proud of me that he allowed me to go to town and purchase not just one sweater and skirt, but two.”
Gladise’s sister was jealous – so, the next day Gladise went to town and sold another ten cords of wood to the mercantile’s brother, earning her sister a skirt and sweater.
After high school, Gladise began to get involved with an acrobatic act.
“I performed in a group called The Four Planets,” said Gladise.
In that group, Gladise met her husband, Herman Lund.
In 1937, Gladise and her husband ventured off on their own and performed their Vaudeville show across the united states and Canada with their unique hand balancing and acrobatic acts. They continued their performances until WWII broke-out, darkening theaters.
“To avoid the draft, my husband joined the Merchant Marines,” said Gladise.
While her husband was in the service, she lived and worked in Oakland at the local Safeway market.
“When my husband came home from the service, he told me that he had always wanted to live on a farm and milk cows,” said Gladise, “so we did just that.”
In 1946, the Gladise and her husband moved to Maxwell where they later purchased a 23 acre dairy for $9,000. They then purchased 30 cows and began producing Grade A Raw milk that was delivered to the residents of Maxwell twice a day.
“My husband would get up at three in the morning to bring the cows in from the pasture, give them a bath, and prepare them for milking,” said Gladise, “I would be preparing the bottles and orders, making sure they were ready for delivery.”
After milking the cows, Gladise and her husband would load up the delivery truck and deliver the iconic glass milk bottles to the door steps of Maxwell residents, and collecting the old bottles.
“We recycled before recycling was the thing to do,” said Gladise, “We would take the bottles back to our farm and wash and sterilize them. Only to quickly fill them again with the afternoon milking.”
Gladise and her husband worked seven days a week, with no holidays or vacations.
“The cows had to be milked daily, and twice a day,” said Gladise, “back then it didn’t seem all that bad, but looking back it was horrible!”
Five years into their operation, the State of California introduced new legislation that Raw Milk could no longer be commercially sold and the pasteurization process became the norm.
“We had to close the dairy, we just couldn’t afford the upgrade,” said Gladise.
Gladise and her husband were instrumental to the Maxwell community. The couple not only owned and operated the local dairy, but they often put on
Vaudeville shows in Maxwell to help raise money for school band uniforms and taught dozens of people to tap dance.
“I taught dance classes here in Maxwell and in Colusa,” said Gladise.
Gladise and her husband were also great supporters of the Maxwell Community Pool.
A saleswoman at heart, Gladise began selling Avon.
“I was a little down and depressed when a friend came by and asked me if I wanted to start selling avon,” said Gladise, “I thought it would be a great opportunity for me and I said yes.”
Gladise quickly became the top regional sales person winning dozens of achievement awards.
In 1958, Gladise purchased Pearson’s Variety Store where she sold just about everything.
“We sold toys, fabric, and had a great selection of candy,” said Gladise, “we had something for everyone.”
The Variety store closed just seven years after opening when people began traveling out of town to purchase goods.
“The mall and other large department stores started moving into yuba city and people just were not shopping local anymore,” said Gladise.
Gladise also delivered and sold many local newspapers around town.
“I would deliver several different newspapers to subscribers around town, and we had vending boxes up at the store,” said Gladise, “We tried to make ends meet with whatever we could get.”
In 2013, Gladise and her daughter, Carmen Mason, were chosen to be the Grand Marshalls of the Maxwell Rodeo Parade.
“It was very exciting,” said Gladise, “I used to be a judge for the parade for many years.”
The Maxwell Rodeo will be celebrating its 85th year.
Over the last 100 years, Gladise was a wood salesperson, in a Vaudeville act, owned a dairy and verity store, sold avon, delivered newspapers, taught dance classes and was active in her community.
“I kept pretty busy,” said Lund, “I was a busy lady.”
Her secret to a long life? “You have to live right – no drinking, no smoking, and staying active,” said Gladise.
It is without doubt that Gladise continues to lead an amazing life and is quite the inspiration to many.
“I never thought I would have lived this long,” said Gladise.
Happy Birthday Gladise!