MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Callie Terrell loves making women look and feel good.
“I work because this is what I’ve enjoyed doing all my life from a little girl. I always loved messing with my sister’s hair. They had beautiful hair and I always enjoyed doing this.”
Mrs. Terrell now only works to keep busy and to satisfy a few longtime customers, like her daughter Inez. Terrell is 99 years old and anxiously awaits her 100th birthday in November.
“Whenever I give out my birthday to people, you have to pay for it. November 26th, how old will I be? One hundred, how about that?”
Her zeal for life is amazing and so is her work ethic.
WREG checked the state of Tennessee, and they first issued her license to operate on Jan. 30, 1945.
She rents space in a salon now. But she once had her own thriving business.
She’s outlived almost all of her customers. “People my age that I used to be buddy-buddy with, I don’t have a single one. I was in a bridge club. I’m the only one in the club that’s living.”
Work is part of her secret to longevity.
“I’m not used to just being up in the house. You see, I worked so long I’ve just been around people and doing something exciting,” she said. “Most old people, they’re so dry and droll. I can’t deal with that. I gotta live and do the things that make me happy.”
Working brings her joy. But she plans to finally retire at the end of the year.
She says don’t expect to find her sitting around the house doing nothing.
“I just be waiting on somebody to call and say, ‘Callie, you busy? Well, come on over here.’ They say we’re doing so and so. So I jump in the car and go. I just want to do something.”
Mrs. Callie is still driving.
Her daughter stopped driving years ago. Mrs. Terrell is her chauffeur and hair stylist.
The state of Tennessee shows Mrs. Callie is indeed the oldest licensed cosmetologist in the state.