life

Longevity

This weeks #52Ancestors prompt is about longevity… the oldest relative you had or something along that lines.

While, I know I am a day or so behind I’ve had this topic on my mind trying to determine who’d I consider.

I thought of all the ones who have passed on and their lives. The ones who died young. The ones who died after a long life.

I considered all the ones I had known and the ones I only knew through documentation, pictures, and family tales.

I considered all the men and all the women. The choices were many considering we have information on our ancestors to the 1400s and even further back.

So I decided to choose a person who had a great impression on my life.

I choose to talk about Shirley Ann Mills. Born June 24, 1934, in Everett, Washington she grew up with one sister and from I have been told had a full and loving life growing up. In 1956 Shirley married Edward J Kay and later that year had their first child, Betty Jean. Two years later she had her first son, Jeffrey A Kay, and two more years later Peggy Ann arrived. With three kids her family had been complete.

Shirley was a second generation American on the moms side and first generation on the father side. He father was born in Canada and her maternal grandparents both born in Sweden. Her mother born in Washington just as she was.

After many years of being an Air Force wife, Shirley settled in Fort Walton Beach where her husband had retired. And that is where I come in… in 1972, I was born to Betty Jean. In the 80s grandma and grandpa divorced and years later she remarried John Redman. It was when I gained a new grandpa. I had a Pop Pop Kay and Grandpa Redman.

I have many memories of my grandmother. I remember seeing her in her hair rollers in the mornings while she walked around the house in her silky robes. Her words were always firm and she always gave my mom funny looks.

She did a great many things for me when I was young. She came to Arizona and got me when my mom couldn’t take care of me. She supported me when I wanted to go to China as a foreign exchange student, buying me all the clothes I needed. She let me have friends on my vacations when we visited her. I lost contact with my family for twelve years and when we reconnected she was supportive of my life then.

What I remember most about her is her firm words and her support. My grandmother had a way of telling someone exactly what she thought and it didn’t matter what anyone else cared. Actually, as I write this post I realize that this is a trait I obviously inherited from her. A trait I treasure. The second thing about her was her support. If you were honest with her and showed you were trying to do something with yourself she supported you. Every time.

She always took good care of herself, exercising and eating good. Even on the days when she annoyed you the most you knew deep down she loved you.

She lived seventy-four years. That’s a long life, a good life. I chose my maternal-grandmother for this post because above all the adversity she endured, the long hours of work, the long days of parenting, the years of being a grandmother… she was a woman to respect, a woman to love.