Ina Bell has lived in The Links for 12 years.
She likes to watch the golfers from her living room window. On a small table to the left of the window sits a balloon in the shape of the number 99. Despite being a year old, it still had air in it.
“Well, I suppose I’ll have to switch that here soon,” Bell said looking at the ballon from across the room.
Bell turns 100 years on July 23.
One of nine children, Bell was the child of Jim and Alura Adams. She was born and raised in Lafayette County, about 13 miles outside of Oxford in the Bluff Springs community off Highway 30.
After she graduated high school, she moved to Memphis, where she met her husband, Thomas Bell who was in the U.S. Air Force. She worked as a comptometer operator while in Memphis.
The two would move around a good bit over the years whenever Bell was deployed or assigned to go to a new base. They had one daughter, Karen Allison.
Thomas died in 1966 from lung cancer when their daughter was just 6 years old.
Growing up outside of Oxford, Bell said she always considered Oxford as an “uppity town.”
“We really got to come into town on the weekends,” she said. “I bet I’ve walked around that Square a thousand times.”
Oxford has changed quite a bit over the year, noted Bell.
“If you took me away from here and brought me back, I probably wouldn’t know where I was,” she said. “Last time I went out there it looked like New York City.”
Bell said her only secret to reaching 100 years old was living a “clean living.”
“Trusting in God and doing right,” she said.