Margaret Lathrop’s 100th birthday is April 25. With macular degeneration, she is legally blind, but still lives in her own apartment, goes to the pool twice a week, and has a steady line of crochet items to give away to visitors. When I stopped in to see her last week she had a few stories to tell.
Margaret was a Casey. Her father was Irvin Casey, who emigrated from Ireland. He married Nellie Humes fron Northport. Margaret was an only child and was born two miles west of Royalton on April 25, 1911. Her parents ran the Casey General Store for years. At just 10 years old, she recalls driving to Weyauwega to get butter for the store. “Royalton was a big town back then, New London wasn’t even as big yet,” says Lathrop with a smile.
Margaret attended Royalton grade school and Manawa School High School. “As high schoolers we’d go down to the train in Royalton and wait for the caboose to chug through and we’d hop on board for a ride to school each day,” says Margaret.
When she graduated high school, she attended accounting school in Oshkosh. She made her living as an accountant for 49 years. She worked seven different places for seven years each. “I didn’t plan it that way,” says Margaret, “It just happened that way.” She once worked for multi-millionaire Frank Zaug.
She also met and married Edgar W. Lathrop, who had come to Wisconsin from Texarcana, Arkansas, to escape the heat. He worked at Borden’s when he met Margaret, who was working there in accounting.
“I used to know every farmer in the area by their milk can numbers,” said Lathrop. “We’d be standing outside a store in downtown New London on a Saturday night, and they’d come up to me on the street and say ‘Hello, Mrs. Lathrop,’ and all I could think was, “There goes can #341. I never remembered their real names.”
Edgar was a star athlete, and was one of the original New London Bulldogs. Margaret attended every one of his baseball and football games. “Edgar was tall, and he had the longest arms you’ve ever seen. He was an excellent player.”
Even now, Margaret is a Bulldog fan. She has two radios in her apartment. One is tuned to the New London station so she can catch her grandson’s games. Another radio is tuned to WNAM for news and music, but when the Packers have their season, don’t ask Margaret to go anywhere. She’ll be at her radio with a whistle to start the game.
The Lathrop’s owned 150 acres on Cross Road, south of Sara Lee. That’s where they raised a daughter, Kay (Huntley) and a son Lenny. They did some farming, had a huge garden and gave their extras to friends. Four members of the family now have their homes on the land – their son, daughter and two grandsons.
Lathrop lost her husband in 1992, after 57 years of marriage. She still has their apartment, and looks forward to her trips to the pool twice a week. “I started going once the indoor pool was built and they had aquacise classes. I loved that. Now I just use the hot tub, and it does wonders for me. I meet my friends there and find new friends, too.”
Museum needs your sports memorabilia
This summer the New London Public Museum takes a look at the history of baseball and basketball. From school sports to business and intramural leagues, we want to show the impact of sports on the New London area. We will show the history of baseball and basketball through our collection of photographs, uniforms, team information and trophies. Although the museum has a collection of items for the exhibit, we could use your help.
We are looking for the following items for our Play Ball! exhibit: Baseball cards, baseballs, baseball equipment, basketballs, basketball uniforms and memorabilia from the stadiums, courts, or teams. If you have any of these items and are willing to loan them to the museum June 7 through Nov. 1, 2011, please contact Christine at 920-982-8520 or email@example.com.
The New London Public Museum is located in the lower level of the New London Public Library, 406 S. Pearl St. and is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday. The New London Public Museum can be reached at 920-982-8520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.