90 Plus: “Nobody hands you anything for nothing”

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Lema Viator has a unique kind of courage and determination.

Being 98 years old is just another stepping stone for her.

“You’re making me old. I was still on 97,” Viator says.

Her name alone speaks to her uniqueness.

“I don’t know where they got that but my mother was called Lema. I guess they figured they had one; they were going to make two,” Viator recalls.

Viator says hard work never hurt anyone. 

That’s what she lives by and stands by.

“Nobody hands you anything for nothing. You have to keep working at it. I’m still working at it,” she says.

Viator says her husband was a sugar cane farmer.

“He cut seven or eight tons of cane a day and with no loader. In those days you had to load your own cane. you didn’t have a loader,” she says.

Viator was born and raised in Iberia Parish.

She’s the mother of two boys; she says she had to wait until her grandson had grandchild before a girl came along.

Viator says she’s content with the life she lived — doing more than she thought she could… some of her accomplishments even come as a surprise to her.

Viator says: “I even served as a midwife for the neighbor. There was a nobody there. Before the doctor came I had the baby all dressed.”

She says she has lived her life being herself.

“Don’t get in an argument with me because I’m bullheaded. I want to go first,” Viator says.

That’s been her guiding principle — why not and now her advice for living life for all that its worth.

“Some people just get bored with living. why? You don’t have to get bored at home find something to do,” says Viator.

Viator worked for the Pelican Creamery located in New Iberia. 

She figures she was the last one that left before they closed — because everybody else she says was gone. 

Viator also mows her own lawn; she says her family always want to do it for me but she loves doing it herself.
 

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