Happy Grandparents Day to all you grandmas and grandpas out there.
I know some of you didn’t even know that there is such a holiday as national Grandparents Day. That’s OK. The first I ever heard of Grandparents Day was around 1981, when I mentioned it in one of my columns.
Actually the day was founded by Marian McQuade, who with husband Joseph were parents of 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. She was a housewife, whose primary goal was to bring attention to the lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also wanted grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage that their grandparents could provide.
So, with her husband’s encouragement, McQuade started out on her mission in her hometown of Fayette County, West Virginia. According to the history of National Grandparents Day, McQuade wanted the day to be a family day, and envisioned families enjoying small, private gatherings; maybe even a family reunion. It would be a day of giving and sharing hopes and dreams and values.
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Although McQuade often referred to herself as “just a housewife,” she found time to do more than keep house and be a wife and mother to her large family. She became a advocate for older adults and their well being.
In 1973, after working for three years with the politicians and religious and civic leaders Grandparents Day was launched in McQuade’s home state. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed National Grandparents day a holiday to be celebrated the Sunday after Labor Day. September was chosen because it signifies the “autumn” years of life.
Unlike Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, when the honorees are showered with gifts — making those days two of the most commercial holidays in American history — Grandparents Day was never meant to be commercialized. Rather it was meant to be a day for families to come together and to help children become aware of the wisdom and strength they can learn from their their grandparents.
McQuade died in 2008. I like her idea of Grandparents Day. While some of us (like me) are “crazy” grandparents, who jump at every opportunity to tell anybody who wants to listen (or not) to their grandchildren stories, the best part about being a grandparent is having the opportunity to pass on our heritage.
I was blessed to have my grandmother until I was 55. I thought she was wonderful. She taught herself to read and write. And I loved to sit and listen to her stories about life in Plant City, where most of her children were born. Grandpa died and left her a young widow with six children, but Grandma showed no fear. She was short (barely five feet) and cute, and, according to my mom, could shoot a rifle as good as any man. She later married a widower and when she was nearly 50, they had a son.
I used to love to sing along with Grandma — she sang bass and played a mean harmonica. She loved the Lord, people, animals and working in her garden — in that order. And she especially loved her dog, Man (that was his name).
I think of Grandma a lot. From her I learned that sometimes we parents just don’t always get it right. Becoming grandparents often give us a second chance. And it is a role that has special benefits.
For example, we can be children again with our grandchildren. We can share secrets with them and tell them stories about the Old Days. Then, when we have had just about all we can stand, we can just pack them up and send them home.
Seriously though, becoming a grandma was one of the highlights of my life. And now, I am doubly blessed because I am a great-grandma of two active great-grandsons, Jaylen and Tavaris, both 8, and a beautiful little great-granddaughter Hallie, who is 9 months. How great is that?
‘Unc’ to turn 100 on Tuesday
Come Tuesday, Sept. 15, Moses Hillman, or “Unc” as he is affectionately called, will be 100 years old.
Born and raised on a farm in Springvale, Georgia, he was the fourth of 13 children, daughter Margaret Hillman-Williams said. “We are so deeply proud of our dad, she said. “He is a World War II veteran, a retired longshoreman and has been a member of Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church since its inception.”
Hillman-Williams said her dad moved to Miami in the late 1930s and was drafted into the Army. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and returned to Miami where he met and married the love of his life, Lucile Henderson. They were the proud parents of five girls — Corliss, Beverly, Gayle, Margaret and Tweedia.
Hillman retired in 1982 after 35 years of service as a longshoreman at PortMiami. His wife died the year before, leaving a great void, which he tries to fill with visits to friends at the dock, Hillman-Williams said. “He always took his grandsons Jeremy, Glenn and Christopher along. Especially if they had candy to sell for the school. Dad would pack the boys and their candy in the car and head to the port,” she said.
But, sadly, that all changed after the 9/11 tragedy in New York, “and Dad was no longer allowed on the dock.”
While he was upset that he no longer had access to the port, Hillman found solace in the fact that his grandsons played little league baseball. “He never missed a game,” his daughter said.
And since July 1982, Hillman has never missed a family reunion in Cuthbert, Georgia, Hillman-Williams said.
“Our dad has always had a very quiet and humble spirit and he always put his family first,” Hillman-Williams said. “He has been a surrogate dad to our friends, the neighbors, the staff in his doctor’s office, members of the church, and everywhere he goes. We have yet to find someone who doesn’t absolutely love and adore him as much as we do.”
Hillman’s family plans a party for him on Saturday at at Miami Shores Country Club. One of his birthday gifts: the birth of his newest great-grandson, Hillman-Williams said. “He is expected to have a safe arrival on Sept. 15,” she said.
Another big birthday
While we are on the subject of birthday celebrations, Mother Fannett Clark Lyons will celebrate her blessed 102nd birthday on Monday, Sept. 14.
Born in Miami’s Overtown, Lyons is the oldest of six and is now the lone survivor. She still loves attending church and is a member of Mount Hermon A.M.E. Church in Miami Gardens, where she serves as a deaconess and is a member of the Missionary Society and the SAM Ministry.
Even at 102, Lyons still enjoys dressing fashionably and cheering for her favorite sports teams — the Miami Dolphins and the Heat. And she still enjoys cooking her favorite dish, pigeon peas and rice.
Lyons is the mother of Leonard, Rosemary Clark Bethel and Franklin. Son Marvin died several years ago. She is the grandmother of 16 and the great grandmother of eight.
The family will have a quiet celebration to honor her after church on Sunday.
A trunk show to benefit the Footprints Foundation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at Hotel Hyatt Centric, 1600 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach.
The show, “Candles and Jewlery,” will include one complimentary drink, appetizers and a raffle for an Apple watch. Tickets for the raffle are $5 for one ticket and $20 for five tickets.
If you go, make your reservations by calling Lorna at 305-860-8059, or Gabi at 305- 877-0954. Or you may email, email@example.com.
A teen summit will be held 10:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Miami Dade College North Campus, 11380 NW 27th Ave.
The event will be held again from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 26 at Christ Fellowship Church Palmetto Bay, 8900 SW 168th St.
Workshop topics will include “AIDS Awareness and Sex Talk,” “Anger Management,” “College and Career Advisement,” “Human Traffic,” “Life Skills Training,” “Money Management” and Tai Chi.
The event will also include a “Panel of Success,” a college tour, free lunch, door prizes, info expo, entertainment and goody bags for everyone.
The event is sponsored by Miami-Dade County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association in collaboration with Miami Dade College. Additional workshops will be conducted by Citrus Mental Health, Compass Financial Federal Credit Union, Educate Tomorrow, Empower U, Florida International University, Florida Youth Shine, Our Kids of Miami Dade/Monroe and The Children’s Trust.
To register and for more information call 305-474-0078 to leave a message. Your call will be returned.
Young Entrepreneurs Academy
Students ages 11 through 18 who are interested in launching their own businesses are invited to apply for fall classes of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!).
YEA! is a 30-week hands-on enrichment program that transforms local middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Students will generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch fully formed businesses from the ground up, with instruction and inspiration from local teachers and business leaders. Students will own and will be able to continue running their businesses after graduation.
Founded in Rochester, New York, in 2014, the program now serves students in more than 100 communities in the U.S., and more than 4,000 YEA! graduates nationwide have started over 3,000 businesses.
Classes meet weekly after school through the academic year and applications are now being accepted. To apply and to select an academy near you, visit www.yeausa.org by Sept. 30.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.