BROOKSVILLE - Spring Oaks resident Winonah Green has experienced a history that most can only understand through books, e-readers, and laptops.
Born 1906 in Virginia, she has seen two world wars, the Great Depression, the women's suffrage movement, and advancements in technology, industry, and manufacturing that fundamentally changed the world.
Green can still remember a time when clothes were washed with old-fashioned scrub and water, she said, before there were washing machines, airplanes, automobiles, radios, or television.
"So much was going on after (World War II); it was like reorganization," said Green, who celebrated her 108th birthday Monday. "Different fields were opening up, and it created jobs, which we needed badly. There was so much destruction during the war that we needed to try a better life for the citizens."
A retired educator of 25 years, Green saw the potential for a better life through education, she said.
After graduating high school with honors and receiving a four-year scholarship to attend college, Green joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and went on to earn a master's degree in home economics at Virginia State University.
She became an elementary and junior high school teacher in Pennsylvania, she said, and married her husband, a high school math and science teacher, in 1942.
"It was always my desire to help people, and with that in mind, that is what I was doing with teaching and community work," Green said, "to try and stress the necessity of a good education, and to better yourself, teach people to respect others, and give them a desire to better themselves and their living conditions."
The potential of that desire became apparent to Green at a young age in the midst of the women's suffrage movement. By the time she turned 18, Green said, she was among the first American women to exercise her right to vote.
"By the time I was ready to vote, it took time to really realize that this was actually happening," Green said. "It was really a milestone that women had accomplished after working so hard for it. It's the reason I can't understand now why so many young people don't vote. They don't realize what people have gone through to accomplish that."
Green's positive, forward-thinking attitude carried into parenthood with the birth of her daughter, and after her husband's death in 1983.
She moved to Hernando County in 2006 to be closer to her daughter and family, she said, and she is among a handful of centenarians in the county.
Green remains active at the Spring Oaks senior living community, and normally walks without a walker or wheelchair, except after lunch, joked Spring Oaks Enrichment Coordinator, Karen Whittingstall.
Green said she has lived a long and good life, and as is often the case for those who want to live to see a century, many have asked her secret to longevity.
"Are you putting something in your tea we don't know about?" joked Whittingstall.
But she has no secret, said Green.
"I'm either doing something right, or I'm doing something wrong," she said.