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“LET’S LIVE A LITTLE LONGER”

 

“Let’s Live a Little Longer” was the rallying cry of the members of the Three-Quarter Century Club, founded in Battle Creek in 1922. Citizens who were 75 years of age, or older, were eligible to join the organization, which celebrated the achievement and dignity of old age.

Residents who had not yet reached the age of 75 could also join the Club as associate members

At the first meeting, 253 attended with a combined ages totaling 21,000 years. The average age was 83 and there was one centenarian among the guests.

Each member took a pledge, “I hereby promise to do my best to attain the age of one hundred years.”

Charles Wheelock was the organizer of the first gathering and he became the secretary and administrator of the Club. He sent every member an annual birthday card, visited the sick and arranged the programs.

There were no annual dues to join to Club but members made donations at the meetings to cover the cost of cards. An money left at the end of the year was donated to the Salvation Army.

During its heyday, the Club met every Saturday afternoon for two hours. All the entertainment was supplied by members who sang songs, told stories, described their travels and shared reminiscences about the pioneer days of Battle Creek.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of the Sanitarium was very interested in the idea of the Club and hosted the members at an annual banquet at the San. A magazine for the members was published by the San and Kellogg worked to establish similar clubs around Michigan and Florida.

In 1926 Kellogg dedicated a radio broadcast to the Three-Quarter Century Club, saying:

“It is no small honor to be a member of the Three-Quarters Century Club. It takes a lot of pluck and stamina, energy, self-control and character to weather the storms of life for three-quarters of a century, and a good deal of adroitness to escape the snares and pitfalls which beset the feet of every human being.

“Only one person in six has the ability to reach seventy-five years. Besides, one has to have a good heredity to start with.

“So, you see, the members of this club are the cream of society, the very salt of the earth, an aristocracy, in fact, and every member is to be congratulated, and has reason to be proud of his ancestors and of himself.”

The Club continued to meet for about twenty years, with a total enrollment of 1200 seniors. No one’s name was ever removed from the rolls, even after death.

 

 

 

 

THREE-QUARTERS CENTURY CLUB SONG

Tune: Marching Through Georgia

Lyrics: James H. Brown (1924)

 

We are cheerful pilgrims, and we’re well along our way;

We’ve reached the age of seventy-five, and still know how to play.

Our leader is a preacher, bold, and knows just what to say.

And we try to live a little longer.

 

Chorus

Come on! Come on! If you’re old enough to join;

Come on! Come on! You don’t need any coin.

All you need to do is just to girdle up your loin;

And then, vow to live a little longer.

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Our club includes some good old boys; our girls are tried and true;

All well along the path of life, but seldom are they blue.

And one can dance to a lively tune, tho’ she is eighty-two.

We’re bound to stick around a little longer.

Chorus

 

Our Three-Quarters Century Club’s the first one on earth;

T’was organized in Battle Creek, a city of noble birth.

No one asks you, when you join, how much you are worth;

But you must be old enough and worth-y.

Chorus

 

Our programs vary quite a bit, and each one does his share;

Life’s problems, and some way to pay, for what we eat and wear.

Oh, we debate, and what we say may not go “on the air.”

But we all try to live a little longer.

Chorus

 

We have two scribes, who sit beside each other, for the day;

They both write down the acts and sounds of all we do and say.

Our leader keeps us circumspect, tho’ he sometimes, “gets gay.”

T’is then we vow to live a little longer.

Chorus

 

Our public works official, of credit and renown,

Has reigned near half a century, in this famous town;

For the good he’s done, he well deserves a golden harp and crown.

We hope he stays with us a spell longer.

Chorus