The experiences in Sara Groves’ life are as varied as the plants she grows on her property in Oxford. Her home sits in the middle of her gardens and she in the middle of her home, commanding the space like a famous general with whom she once rode horses.
New Year’s Day 2010 marks Groves’ 95th birthday. Born in 1915 in Lamar County, Groves was a very athletic child and played basketball in school. Her athleticism also came in handy every morning.
"I used to have to walk almost four miles daily and four miles back in the afternoon to catch a school bus," she remembered.
Her younger sister, being a more delicate sort of girl, was driven to the school she attended by their father.
As a young woman, Groves attended the University of Chicago where she studied management.
"So I could point my finger and not have to work," she said of her major.
She also earned her Master of Science in Chicago and went to work at the university as a professor of nutrition.
After taking a job at Fort Benning, she met her husband John C. Groves. It also was there, just before World War II, that she met General George S. Patton where he commanded the Army’s 2nd Armored Division. She remembered that he enjoyed riding horses in his free time and she often joined him on rides.
During her very active young married years she lived in Alaska, where she worked in television, and also lived in Hawaii for three years.
The couple eventually located in Oxford because of its proximity to Atlanta as well as its charming atmosphere.
"It’s a very old location," she said, "so you assume, weather-wise and people-wise, that it must be a good place to live that many people haven’t discovered."
Although she and John never had children of their own, she raised a niece. She worked in various careers for many years after she reached an age when most people retire. It was at 92 that she stopped driving herself.
While it is sometimes difficult for her to remember specific details about all her endeavors, anyone who studies Groves’ face when she talks about her past can see a sparkle in her eye – emotions evoked from reminiscing bygone days.