Behind the wheel in the driver’s seat of her father’s old Ford, an 11-year-old girl got used to driving the half-mile trek into Copperas Cove. At that age and mostly afraid of driving, the girl didn’t venture very far from her family’s cotton farm.
Barely able to see over the dashboard, she would go to town for groceries or maybe to gas up the car at one of the city’s service stations.
“I would have to come to town,” said Edna Teinert, who is now 103. “I didn’t go very fast at that time.”
Teinert’s parents made her take the car. She never took “joy rides” in the vehicle. It was always a chore, she said.
Living in the Copperas Cove area since she was born, Teinert has seen a lot of change. Among those changes included National Bank of Gatesville — now National Banks of Central Texas — purchasing Cove State Bank.
The purchase happened in 1990, and Teinert has banked there since 1939. She is the longest living Cove State Bank, or National Banks, customer to continually use the financial institutions.
National Banks of Central Texas honored her longevity with an award and $125 at the end of April.
“It mainly stayed the same, and that is why I stayed with them, because I couldn’t take change,” Teinert said about the 1990 buyout.
Keeping customers like Teinert says a lot about National Banks, said Vickie O’Dell, operations officer and vice president, who used to work at Cove State Bank.
National Banks wanted to keep as much of the staff as possible, she said.
It helped make the transition smooth for operations and clients.
For the bank to make such a purchase at a time when 1,000 failed is a testament to the organization’s conservative and fiscal responsibility, said Jimmy Carmichael, the bank’s marketing president.
Teinert isn’t the only one with longevity though.
Every month until the end of August, National Banks will celebrate its 125-year anniversary at different branches.
It holds the eighth-oldest charter in the state.
Teinert’s award was part of the Copperas Cove branch’s celebration last month.
“It really is an amazing accomplishment,” said Helen Barr, the Cove branch operations officer, of Teinert.
At one point, when she lived near downtown, Teinert would walk to the bank.
Among her favorite memories of the bank are using the “autobank” and getting popcorn when employees used to hand it out to customers.
Teinert has seen a lot of change in Copperas Cove over the years, and often questioned it, she said.
But in her time, she found that just like Cove State Bank becoming National Banks of Central Texas, change can be for the best.
“Sometimes I would say, ‘Why did they do this?’ and found out it was the for the best,” Teinert said.