Sounds like a typical morning for any commuting worker. However, Brock is not your typical employee. She turned 90 years old Thursday and declared she has no intention of quitting work.
“I like it right here,” Brock said while sitting at her reception desk at the East Carrollton Recreation Center. “Mercy, I can’t sit home all day in a rocking chair.”
She works Mondays through Wednesdays at the center, a job she obtained through the Experience Works program, which finds jobs for senior citizens who want to work. The program is funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act and is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Elsie is a joy to work with every day,” said her supervisor, Donna Ford. “She greets everybody with a smile and really brightens our world around here.”
Brock is no newcomer to the work world. She was born in 1923 in Haralson County. She began working part-time jobs at age 16. After graduating from Buncombe High School, she attended Toccoa Falls College for two years, until World War II started.
Like many women at that time, Brock went to work in a defense plant. She worked until the end of the war at Bechtel-McCone Aircraft Modification Center in Birmingham, Ala. The plant employed more than 14,000 workers, many of them women, who worked to support the war being fought by their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons overseas. The plant modified B-24 and B-29 bombers for specific duties.
“I was in the electrical crew,” Brock recalled. “I’d get up in the front of the plane and wire the electrical parts. That was really a job, but I did it and I loved it.”
After the war ended, she returned to Haralson County, where she worked for 20 years with Lawlers Hosiery Mill.
She married her husband, David Austin Brock, on Dec. 2, 1946, and they were married for nearly 53 years, until his death on Nov. 16, 1999. They had two children, Rhonda Brock Steadham and David A. “Tony” Brock.
She got into the insurance sales business in the 1970s, first working for Combined Insurance and then for American Family Life Assurance (AFLAC). She stayed with the company 20 years, becoming a district manager. Many of those years, she worked together with her daughter, Rhonda, in the Carrollton office. They sold indemnity, hospitalization and cancer policies.
“Our office was on Cedar Street, next to Ken Adams’ State Farm,” Brock said. “We traveled all over Georgia selling insurance. We had a group (policy) with Southern Railway and we followed the railroad all over the state.”
Brock said she really loved all the traveling she got to do with the job.
“I won a trip just about every year, going to Hawaii, Washington (D.C.) and New York City,” she said.
She retired from the insurance business and she and David bought a house in Florida and enjoyed retirement together. They later moved back to Lake Wedowee in Alabama and lived there until David died. She then sold the lake house and returned to the west Georgia area.
That began her “rocking chair” days, a time she didn’t enjoy.
“I sat in that rocking chair two weeks and decided I had to get out of there,” Brock said. “I love work better than just sitting around.”
It was at that point that her neighbor, Wileen Huddleston, told her about the Experience Works program. Brock applied for a job and went to work first at the Carrollton police station.
Brock said she worked with “a lot of good officers,” but she grew dissatisfied with the job, and is a little vague today when she describes the situation that led to her quitting.
But she was then offered the receptionist job with the recreation center.
Brock also keeps very busy when she’s not working on her job. She has been a Sacred Harp singer for many years, picking up the skill as a child from her father, who was a minister. She and her daughter also describe themselves as “rock hounds,” collecting minerals and fossils from all over the country.
Brock said she has excellent health and has never been sick a day in her life. She drives her car every day and needs glasses only to read.
“I’m a very happy person,” she describes her life. “It pays to be crazy. It’s a lot of fun.”