101-year-old Chickasaw elder and daughter receive COVID-19 vaccinations and share stories
Taking care of family and living healthfully are lifelong goals for Regina Sales
February 16, 2021
Ardmore, Okla - Chickasaw elder Regina Sales, age 101, and her daughter Roberta Woodruff, age 73, both of Ardmore, received their first COVID-19 vaccinations through the Chickasaw Nation on Jan. 15 at the Ardmore Health Clinic.
They were among approximately 60 Chickasaw elders scheduled to receive their vaccinations for the day. Both said they were excited to get the shot and without much hassle on account of only living a few miles away.
Sales' mother, Cornelia Mayer, was included in the original Dawes Rolls, which listed individuals as members of the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw or Seminole First American tribes, as documented between 1898 and 1914 by the Dawes Commission.
She was an original Chickasaw enrollee who married a German immigrant and rancher named Bruno Mayer.
Regina (Blackburn) Sales was born in the family home May 14, 1919 on a farm near Ada and Allen, Oklahoma. She was reared as one of four siblings growing up working the farm while going to school. It was not a rare sight for young Sales to be out fishing with her father.
Sales married her first husband, Robert Sarrett, in January 1938, just before the second World War. Their daughter, Roberta Woodruff (who drove her to the Ardmore clinic for vaccination), was born in 1947. Their second daughter, Suzy Sarrett, passed away in 1985 at the age of 29.
Sales dedicated much of her life to homemaking and motherhood. After 30 years of marriage, her husband died of cancer. She was a widow at age 48 with two daughters, one in college and the other in middle school.
She was a single mother for 10 years, spending a handful of those years working in food service at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
She went on to marry Ancel Sales in 1978 and moved to Moore to be with him. They were together for 20 years until he died of cancer in 1998.
Over the years, Sales has enjoyed fishing, gardening and golfing as hobbies.
Daughter Woodruff and her husband of 50 years moved to Missouri to start their own lives, but around the time of retirement decided to move back to Oklahoma to take care of their parents in 2012. At this point, Sales moved from her home in Moore to join her daughter and son-in-law, Ernest, in Ardmore.
Woodruff recalled two close encounters her mother had with tornadoes while living in Moore and the trouble she had getting into and out of storm shelters. When the tornado struck Moore on May 3, 1999, Sales was just days from her 80th birthday. The May 20, 2013 tornado came within blocks of Sales' home.
Woodruff said her mother is exceptional, breaking the mold of even family norms of health. Asked what allowed for such longevity, Sales first claimed she didn't know but guessed it is just healthy living. For good health, live in a healthy way, she said.
A week out from their first vaccinations, they said it went well.
"I am very thankful for the Chickasaw care," Sales said. Woodruff said the stick was barely noticeable and there was not any soreness. They are hoping the second dose goes as well.
With the vaccine, mother Sales was able to protect her lifelong exceptional health and daughter Woodruff was able to better guarantee she would be healthy and able to care for her mother.