Sitting in her room at the Anamosa Care Center, Dorothea Wehling couldn’t help but wonder what all the attention was about.
“There’s nothing really that special about me,” said Wehling, who will not only turn 100 years young Tuesday, Sept. 10, but was also a member of the Olin High School girls’ basketball team that reached the state tournament back in 1938.
“I’m no different than anyone else. I’ve had a good life and have done a lot of things, but that’s no different than anyone else.”
According to Wehling, turning 100 isn’t that big of a deal, but mention that state tournament run, and a smile quickly comes to her face.
Wehling played center on that Lion state tournament basketball team, and just listening to her reminisce about those special days back in the late 1930s showed just how important those experiences were to her.
“I called the plays from the center circle back in those days. It was 6-on-6 back then, too. The guards would bring the ball up to the half court line and give it to the forwards and then we would try to score.”
Wehling has a box filled with old articles about friends, family and even her own accomplishments during Olin’s amazing run 81 years ago.
“I can’t believe it’s been that long,” she said. “It sure doesn’t seem like that should be possible.”
She also remembers her final game as a high school senior, playing Centerville at the state tournament in the Drake University Fieldhouse.
“I didn’t score a single point in that game,” she said. “I found out later that I was being guarded by a girl that hadn’t given up a single point to anyone she guarded at the state tournament, and she was named to the honor team after the tournament, too.”
Wehling came across her athletic ability, and competitiveness, quite naturally playing games with her brothers as a youth, which also included racing around the house and pitching horseshoes.
“I always tried to keep up with them,” she said. “We had to work hard at home and we worked hard on the basketball court, too. I think that’s why we were all so good. Everyone on the team worked so hard and wanted to win, and we just did the best we could to make that happen.”
At home Wehling had daily chores that included hauling corn, unloading bales and pumping and carrying water into the house, just to name a few.
“That’s just what we all did back in those days,” she said. “Working hard at home just made it that much easier to work hard on the basketball court at school. If we didn’t do what we were supposed to be doing the coach would correct us, too. We wanted to make sure he didn’t have to do that too much.”
Nearly a century later, Wehling, who has enjoyed the athletic exploits of her great grandkids at Anamosa High School over much of the last decade, still believes hard work is the key to success.
Trevor Wehling, who holds the Raider football single game rushing record set in 2015 in Mount Vernon during what many believe was one of the greatest games in Anamosa history, is just one example of that success.
“It’s been a good life and I’ve got a lot to be proud of with my kids, grandkids and great grandkids,” she said. “But I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging though. I’m sure there are a lot of other families that have the same stories I do.”
That, Dorothea, would be pretty tough to top.