Bonnie Lee Haner, 104, has been spending time away from Alice this year with two of her daughters in Nashville, Tenn. taking field trips and even met a former president.

She may be a retired teacher, but she is far from retiring her dreams of traveling and meeting new people, including former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter.

Haner and her daughter, Peggy Haner, heard that the Carters teach Sunday school classes at his church in Plains, Ga. So they traveled 6 hours by car to Plains on Sept. 16.

"He teaches twice a month...," said Peggy Haner. "So we drove from Nashville to Plains, and attended his class. It was very energizing." 

Haner is a retired second grade teacher from Noonan Elementary School, but her daily memories continue of her love and devotion to the many students who attended Noonan.

In fact, she was serenaded by a former student, John Beam, at her 104th birthday party on Feb. 15 in Nashville. John is from Alice, but made Nashville his home many years ago where he is in the music industry.

This year, Mrs. Haner decided to continue taking field trips just as she did with her students at Noonan for 45 years in her teaching career.

Nashville has been a good location to go on “field trips.”

In March, Mrs. Haner traveled by car with her daughter, Peggy, and her nephew, Clarence Haner, of Hebbronville, Texas to Murray, Kentucky. They visited a carpenter’s workshop who makes one-of-a-kind caskets according to the “owner’s” specifications using various designs and kinds of wood.

After learning that Briggs-Stratton had a small engine plant in Murray, the three were treated to a personal tour of the plant, which employs 900 people. They observed engines being assembled by workers as well as robots. Observing a 5000 degree furnace up close that shapes aluminum parts was particularly interesting.

They learned that every part and every part-of-a-part of Briggs-Stratton engines are made in America. Haner told the plant manager that she had mowed her property with a Poulan mower with a Briggs-Stratton engine until she was well into her 90s. 

In August, Mrs. Haner and her daughter, Peggy, traveled to Huntsville, Alabama and visited cousins they met through the DNA website, 23andMe.com. It was enriching and stimulating to share genealogy research