Lila Masterson’s marriage got off to a rip-roaring start some 82 years ago when revelers put the beautiful blushing teenage bride in a wheelbarrow and pushed her around the Square in Independence to the applause of friends and well-wishers.

Lila Masterson’s marriage got off to a rip-roaring start some 82 years ago when revelers put the beautiful blushing teenage bride in a wheelbarrow and pushed her around the Square in Independence to the applause of friends and well-wishers.

“I was a little embarrassed,” says Lila, who wasn’t prepared to take the ride of her life  around the historic courthouse on June 9, 1928, following her marriage to Elmer Lloyd Masterson.

Lila, who celebrated her 100th birthday with family  on Nov. 13  at the home of her daughter, Betty Simpson, says the post-nuptial shenanigans startled her.

“I didn’t know that was going to happen. I was kind of bashful,” she laughingly says, recalling the groom knew about the ride beforehand, and “it was all right with him.”

The memorable ride, though, ended happily and without a mishap. As was the custom in those days, the bride was cited at the city jail for “disturbing the peace” and sentenced to “50 years of married life.”

“It was all in fun,” she says of the shivaree, which also involved Forest and Margaret Ziegenhorn, who said their “I do’s” with the Mastersons in a double-wedding ceremony at Walnut Park RLDS Church, where Lila’s father, Charles Kenneth Green, was a minister. And, yes, Margaret, too, was propelled around the Square in a wheelbarrow and cited along with Lila.

Sitting in the living room of her Independence house – where she has lived since 1962 – Lila recalls there probably wouldn’t have been a double wedding if her fiancé had not told Forest Ziegenhorn that he was about to tie the knot. Both men lived in the same boarding house at 1416 S. Dodgion St.

“They asked if they could get married, too,”  Lila recalls, “so it (became) a double wedding.”

The 90-year Independence resident doesn’t know how long the Ziegenhorns were married. But she can tell you how long she and “the love of her life” were.

“Almost 60 years,” she says, noting he passed away in 1987.

Out of that union was a daughter, Betty Simpson, and a step-son, Eugene Masterson, who was 2 years old when Lila and Eugene’s father were married. Elmer’s first wife died following an illness. Lila also has six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Asked her fondest memory, Lila, attired in a teal velour vest and slacks, and a light aqua blouse, pauses a few seconds, then replies softly, “My wedding, I guess.”

A wedding that probably never would have taken place had 17-year-old Lila  not met Elmer – 12 years her senior. But they did, though, after Elmer accepted his cousin’s invitation to attend a party at Lila’s house on South Noland Road.

Lila remembers that electric encounter as though it were yesterday, even down to the clothes he was wearing.

“He had on a navy blue suit and white shirt, and he was all dressed up,” she remembers. “I thought he was the cleanest-looking man I had ever saw  ... but I didn’t think about dating him.”

That is, until the handsome guy from Rich Hill, Mo., asked the young lady who caught his eye if he could come back to her house to see her again.

“I allowed him to come back, and we started dating,” she says, calling her new beau “a really handsome man.”

After a year of steady dating, Lila was “a little bit flabbergasted,” she says, when Elmer proposed marriage to her in his car.

Although she was “not exactly” expecting the proposal at the time, she accepted, not knowing how her parents would react to her engagement.

The initial reaction of her parents, Charles and Beatrice Green, was: “You are a little young (to marry).” To which Lila recalls replying: “I love him; I don’t know why we couldn’t marry.”

Apparently, neither could Lila’s parents – except for Lila’s young age. So they gave their blessings to the “love birds,” who selected June 9 as their wedding date.

Why June 9? Because Lila thought it would be nice to say her vows on the birthday of both her father and her paternal grandmother. So be it.

Born on Nov. 13, 1910, in Sanilac County, Mich., Lila moved with her family to Independence 10 years later and grew up in a house at 915 S. Noland Road.

Lila says growing up in the shadows of Kansas City was enjoyable and chock-full of good times and fond remembrances. But life wasn’t always a bed of roses.

“We worked, too,” she recalls, washing dishes, preparing meals, cleaning house, and doing other household chores.

Because there wasn’t much to do in the Kansas City suburb, a fun time for Lila was going to the Square – the hub of Independence – and attending a silent movie at the Plaza Theater on Lexington Avenue.

“We went every Saturday,” she says, recalling a pianist played mood music for each feature film.

 “Of course, we had parties, too. But going to the movies was our main fun,” which she says became more enjoyable with the introduction of the “talkies” in the late 1920s.

Perhaps a close second as the most fun thing to do in sleepy Independence was hanging out on the Square, which Lila says was the place to be on Saturday – especially Saturday night – because it was a social event.

Teenagers would gather on the Square with their friends, walk around the courthouse, perhaps take in a movie or shop a little and then top off the day with a Coke or ice cream treat at Katz’s Drugstore at Main Street and Maple Avenue.

The 1928 graduate of William Chrisman High School was a “good student,” excelling as a writer. English   was her favorite subject. Math gave her fits.

Getting to school in snowy and icy conditions was no problem. Not for Lila. She put on her boots and walked to Chrisman, which was four or five blocks west of the Square on Maple.

When the snow was deep, forget about catching the streetcar on Main Street, she says, because it was filled by the time it reached her neighborhood.

With a few exceptions, “We walked to school most of the time,” she says. However, “There was a time or two we stayed home, but not often.”

Lila describes herself as “just an ordinary person who loves her church.” She also sees herself as a “happy person” with a “positive attitude.”

Betty Simpson describes her mother as  a “true lady” who always looks perfect after getting out of bed in the morning.

“She always looks like a million dollars,” Betty says,  even down to the hose she wears every single day.

Lila wasn’t a homemaker, as so many women were in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. During World War II, she worked four years as a secretary at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. Following the war, she joined the personnel department staff at Gleaner Harvester, retiring 25 years later at Deutz-Allis, which had purchased Gleaner Harvester.

Lila says she’s thankful to be alive at her age. But being a centenarian doesn’t excite her.

“I just take it in stride,” she says.

As for how many more birthdays she hopes to celebrate, Lila says she hasn’t given it any thought.

“I think I have lived my life now. So I would be ready to go (home) at anytime. But she adds: “I am not in a hurry.”