“I’m getting old-er, and old-er, and old-er. And I like it.” Mavis Dupree says with a giggle.
Mavis Dupree is the mother of two blog friends, sisters Phyllis Platte and Patty Petersen. Their mother reached her 94th birthday in February this year.
Mother Mavis had a lyrical soprano voice and enjoyed singing all her life, a soloist at weddings and funerals. She loved people and any kind of social interaction. In a Facebook video her daughter Phyllis recorded a few months ago, Mavis revealed how aging feels to her. Catch the humor—and the enthusiasm—in her voice.
My mother, Ruth Metzler Longenecker, and Phyllis’ and Patty’s mother, Mavis Hayes Dupree, never met. One a Northerner, the other from the Deep South. However, each mother reached the advanced age of ninety—and both have gone beyond that milestone, joining a demographic that is statistically increasing.
It’s true, the two nonagenarians don’t share geography or family background. My mother’s lineage is Swiss-German while Mavis’ maiden and married names suggest English and French origins. My mother Ruth was born and bred in the farmland of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Mavis Dupree, born in Ozark, Alabama, lived most of her life in Florida, where she raised her family.
Yet one thing they have had had in common: a zest for life and a strong faith in God. Growing older is not for sissies, and both have boldly–and with grace–embraced the inevitable changes.
Like my mother, Phyllis’ mother has had her share of physical challenges in recent years, and she would probably agree with this anonymous quote found on my friend Jenn’s website:
I really don’t mind getting older…but my body is taking it badly.
But I bet she’d probably say it with a chuckle!
Mavis passed away just a few weeks ago and leaves behind a grieving family. She also leaves a loving legacy–a peppy disposition; joyous service to her church, teaching Sunday School classes; and amazing friendships with family and friends.
A week before she died, my mother Ruth drove to Bossler Mennonite the Sunday prior and celebrated her 96th birthday at lunch with a church friend that week. She prided herself in being able to stay in her own home, the house where I grew up near Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.
This is my mother’s birthday week. If she were alive, she’d be turning 104 on July 23 this year. Obviously, this is a nostalgic week for me as I vicariously travel back to re-visit one of many occasions we were together at her home on Anchor Road. Recently, I found a postcard commemorating her visit to our Florida home sitting at the breakfast table one morning. It’s dated January 11, 2001.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green. ~ Psalm 92:14, NIV
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. ~ Psalm 116:15
To catch a glimpse of Mother’s and Mavis’ current residence, see the video here.
How do you honor the remembrance of loved ones you miss?
Good morning, Marian! Sending you hugs as you think of your mother (always, but especially this week). ❤️ I’m sorry for your friends’ loss of their mother Mavis, as well. My mother, as you know, was also a lively nonagenarian–she was 97 when she died, and she also had a zest for life, though perhaps not as much in her final year.
I honor her by remembering her, I suppose, and sharing a little bit about her with others, and dedicating a book of poetry to her,
You have paid tribute to your mother often via Facebook and through your blog. I feel as though I knew her to some extent. I believe that even into her 90s she created beautiful art, extending her appreciation for beautiful things, just as you do with poetry and photos.
Thanks for starting our conversation here again today, Merril! 😀
You’re very welcome, Marian. 😊
What an incredible woman. I would have like to have know, Mavis. Thank you for introducing us, Marian. Hugs to you as you remember your mother. I like to honor the memory of my loved ones by sprinkling pieces of them into my stories. This is my birthday week too!
How clever of you to sprinkle pieces of your loved ones into your stories. Writers can do this with either fiction or non-fiction. Happy Birthday in advance, Jill. In our family, we have a string of birthdays during one week’s time: Grand-daughter Jenna started things off yesterday when she turned seventeen. Then next comes my mothers, mine, and our son Joel’s.
I’ll send you a slice of cake when I see your birthday announced on Facebook. Again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JILL! 😀
Thank you, Marian! I cut ties with Facebook, so your blog wish is good! 🙂
Thanks for letting me know. ((( )))
Aging gracefully is such a gift! I enjoyed your tributes to Mavis and your mother. I miss my mother every day.
I don’t think we ever get over the loss of our mothers, however long ago it was. True, the grief is not as sharp as it is in the beginning, but there is a hole in our hearts forever. Thanks for noticing all the details and taking time to reply, Liz. 😀
You’re welcome, Marian. I agree that we never get over the loss of our mothers.
I have not seen Joel’s photograph of mother. Bee-u-ti-ful!
I miss her too.
The photo is both new and old. Cliff found it when he went through a bunch of negatives Joel gave him some time ago.
Joel took her picture when he spent a “gap” year in PA with Aunt Ruthie. He said he had a hard time getting Mom to smile naturally, but she rewarded him with this happy face when he said, “You are beautiful,” which caught her off guard, of course! 😀
You have made your blog a living tribute to your mother, Marian. She will be remembered by many, even those of us who were not fortunate enough to meet her. The picture of Cliff holding baby grandson Patrick up to her in your earlier blog was moving to see after learning that Patrick and his cousin Joel are now heading off to the big university. Life never stands still, and Mavis reminds us that we want it that way. I want to keep on aging! These nonagenarian mothers, including my own, inspire me.
You are such an astute reader, noticing detail on this blog post and checking back to a previous one.
And you practice aging well with your own blog posts celebrating our current stage as “Jubilacion.” More power to us. Right?
I glad you can still honor your mother with weekly visits and praise. Thank you, Shirley!
Mavis has a beautful outlook on life. What a great video!
And your mother had to be wonderful because look at her fruit–you! You can tell a tree by its fruit.
What lovely photos of both!
I need to stop complaining about getting older! 😊
Thanks for checking in, friend. I too need to stop complaining about getting older, especially as I reach a higher number on the ladder of aging this week. I guess the inevitable changes (like more aches and pains) tempt us to complain. I hear what you are saying and understand completely, Thanks, L. Marie! 😀
Beautiful Heaven is playing as I type Marian – I went back to your July 2016 post. Loved listening to Mavis Dupree on getting older and older – what a lovely face and smile! And your photos are beautiful …I remember my parents often. Golly there are a lot of July birthdays coming up – some very close friends towards the end of this month, one in Italy, one in Az., one near Cape Town … and I’m sure I’ve left out a few …
I can only hope that we all age as gracefully and happily as your mother and Mavis and make the most of what life has to offer. As long as we remember our dear departed, they are never truly dead. I believe that’s what The Mexican Day of the Dead is all about.
Maria Fatima: Thanks for adding your thoughts here. When our son and daughter-in-law lived in Chicago, they lived in a Mexican neighborhood. I remember them sending us photos of parades on The Mexican Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos.
Yes, , Susan, so many July birthdays! It makes me think that the parents did more than cuddle under the blankets in October when the weather turned colder nine months earlier–at least in the northern hemisphere. Thanks for reading this post and going back to the earlier one. Listening to “How Beautiful. . . ” is a bittersweet experience for me. Thanks, Susan! 😀
Thank you for sharing these two gorgeous gals with us, Marian. Just imagine the stories and laughter they share now, joy unimaginable. Praying for both families. Grief does not pass; we only adjust to living with it. Blessings to you. Xoxo
I agree with you, Jenn: “Grief does not pass; we only adjust to living with it.” Thanks for checking in today. As you can see, you contributed to the wealth of this post here, so appreciated! 😀
We have known Mavis Dupree for many years. She worked at the Florida Hiway Patrol Office in Panama City with my brother in law. When we visited my sister, we would go to church with Mavis. She moved to Jax a few years ago and found your sister’s church to be place of rest and refreshment. Marian, Very nice story.
Jerry, thanks for checking in and adding to Mavis’ memory. She lived large and touched so very many people in her sphere of influence. Be sure to say Hi to Susan! 😀
Two wonderful women. Like they say, “They just don’t make them like that anymore.” We remember our loved ones by talking about them, sharing stories and pictures. That way we keep their memory alive.
Darlene, you do an excellent job of honoring your family, even at a distance. Stories and pictures do keep loved ones’ memories alive, for sure. Thanks! 😀
I have so much respect and awe for people who age as well and as happily as Mavis. Such a strong lady. I’m sorry about the sad and nostalgic times you are going though, Marian. Coincidently, minutes ago I learned the sad news that an older friend has passed away (in Annapolis). He “gave me away” at my wedding and was the only witness of the ceremony. He also took a few photos of the event. He will be forever in our minds, hearts, and life together.
Oh, I ‘m so sorry to hear this. My condolences to you and Mark as you adjust to the sad news. I do remember reading about your wedding and wonder now if you mentioned him by name in your book and/or blog. Thanks, always, for commenting here, Liesbet! 😀
Thank you, Marian. And, yes, I do mention Jim by name. He was an amazing guy and very well loved. I wish we were closer to Annapolis for his celebration of life as it promises to be very meaningful and musical.
Jim! Yes, thank you. ((( )))
Your mother and Mavis have led the way by living brilliant, joyful lives. May we have their enthusiasm for embracing all that life gives – the good and not so good – with grace and open hearts.
That’s my wish too, Rebecca. Thanks for echoing the sentiments of many of us in this column. 😀
Marian — I watched the video clip of Mavis and learned she had the same allergy that I do: “I am allergic to the cold one hundred percent!” That made me laugh.
I agree with what DAVE FERGUSON said in an article about death and dying:
“We have not “lost” our mothers. We say that to be polite, but in truth, we have become un-mothered, like Marie Antoinette was un-headed or that wilderness hiker who sawed off his arm was un-handed. It feels violent. It feels raw and fundamental, a pain that reaches all the way down to your ligaments and bones. Our mothers were our first firmament, literally, our first homes, the universe from whose substance we were formed. And while this is a pain that all creatures who are born must face, it does not make saying goodbye to your mother any easier to do.”
The quote from David Ferguson is certainly “on point.” Seven years ago I referred to myself as an orphan, recalling my mother’s recent death. In my 70s, the grief seemed raw then, and I did feel like a motherless child. Here is the post: https://marianbeaman.com/2015/05/09/an-orphan-speaks-on-mothers-day/ The grief is not as sharp, so I guess I have learned to adjust to it.
Thanks, always, for your wholehearted support of my blog, no matter what the topic. I’m glad you found this one so relatable, Laurie! 😀
Okey, Dokie. Lovely, Marian. I enjoy Mavis and also your mom. Both lived life to the fullest and I have lots to learn from their cheerful attitudes. This quote grabbed my attention: “I really don’t mind getting older…but my body is taking it badly.”
My hearing and balance issues from Meniere’s Disease are always troublesome but worse in this hot changeable weather, plus there’s an element of shame about how fragile I sometimes feel. On the other hand, I love life and still take early morning hikes with the dogs and harvest a few vegetables from my garden despite the heat. I still have an inclination for gratitude and praise.
I know Mavis and Ruth knew how to deal with hard times and hot weather (without AC). I don’t have AC and have never needed it although we’re having unusual heat this year. Still, even with temperatures in the 90s today, there’s a sweet breeze and the birds sing outside my open windows.
I hear gratitude as you contemplate the various (unwelcome) changes that age brings. And I also can relate to how fragile you feel, dealing with hearing and balance issues. You know my challenges with my eyes. My retinologist will give me another set of injections tomorrow and probably comment about the new lenses inserted during cataract surgery. Less than thirty years ago, before these options, we’d be much worse off.
So, we do the best we can do, benefitting from modern medicine while adjusting to diminished energy. Like you, I find so much to appreciate in life as well. I admire you staying on the farm and able to take hikes, enjoying field and flowers, and those blessed Monarchs. Thanks, Elaine! 😀
Hi Marian, what a lovely lady Mavis is and I really enjoyed the video you shared. I love listening to elderly people talking about their lives and how things have changed. It is so interesting.
Robbie, you are young by comparison but wise enough to appreciate the gifts of age. Thanks for commenting here, and for clicking LIKE on the video in my YouTube channel. 😀
“How beautiful Heaven must be!” The older one gets, the more one thinks (realistically) about Johns vision on the Island of Patmos. I too am happy that I’ve been privileged to lead a long and healthy life. I am saddened today, that we just lost a friend to Covid. He was only 51 years old and leaves behind a grieving wife and three teenaged children. Those years after age 50 were so different from the previous ones and so precious. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss them. Both my parents lived into their mid eighties and early nineties and left us with treasured memories.
Oh, dear, my condolences to you and Hardy as you grieve the loss of your special friend. He is the age of our son, also with two teenaged children. How hard the loss must be for the wife and sons. I hope family and friends will rally with help and support now and into the days ahead, with children still living at home.
I have a birthday this week, bringing me one step high up the ladder of the 80s. Heaven does seem more real to me because of that. Thanks for sharing, Elfrieda! 😀
It’s hard to believe your mother has been gone that long. Went to a funeral this week for a friend’s mother. You honor your mother in lovely ways including the “Heaven” song. P.S. There’s a package on the way to you. Enjoy!
I’ll bet I can guess what’s in the package. This is my birthday week, so it will arrive at a propitious time. Thanks in advance for the gift–and for commenting here, Melodie. 😀
I so enjoyed watching and listening to Mavis in the video. Thanks for sharing. She reminds me so much of my mom, who was zesty like that until her last couple of years, when dementia took over. But Mavis teaches us the importance of GRATITUDE. I’m so grateful that you had so many wonderful years with your mom. I tell my mom every day, in my prayers, how grateful I am that I was her daughter and that we were part of a great family with my dad and brother. Gratefulness keeps us young(er) and appreciating every day. Blessings to Mavis, to your mom, and mine, and to all of our wonderful mothers. <3
Amen, Sister! Your voice is full of such gratitude — wow!
I have a framed photo of Mother on a shelf to the right of our TV screen. Often when I pass by from room to room on my daily treks, I say to her, “Thank you, Mom!” I haven’t made a shrine to her yet, but I do cherish her memory as you do yours.
Love this! 💕
Mavis’s moments on video are priceless Marian. I enjoyed every second of listening to her speak. She has that spark of easy conversation. I’ll admit, I was sad to keep reading and find she had passed! Everyone should record a loved one like that. The post is such a nice tribute to Mavis and your mom. They were given a gift to live long and independent lives; it’s wonderful. Enjoy your memories with your mom this week. ♥
I’m sure her daughters, Patty and Phyllis, and other relatives will read this post AND the comments and be appreciative. Thanks so much for your input, Melanie. I know you have challenges with your mother right now, as I have had with my Aunt Ruthie, so reading this may have been bittersweet. Hugs, my friend. 😀
It was maybe a little bittersweet, but I so enjoyed Mavis and her vitality! Let’s celebrate that and the love between mothers and daughters. 🤗
This was a beautiful tribute to all these wonderful women who lived such long and fruitful lives. God bless. <3
Exactly my intention, Debby. Thanks for the nod here. 😀
I hope I grow old as gracefully as those two marvelous ladies… who am I kidding I am old already…lol…Sending hugs as you remember your dear mum, Marian x
You’re funny, Carol. You have an advantage as you age: valuing good nutrition and practicing good eating habits as you demonstrate almost daily on your blog. Thanks for the good wishes–and for adding your thoughts here! 😀
Hi Marian – I enjoyed learning more about Mavis and your mother. They both seemed to have that zest for life. This is also my mother’s birthday month. She and my father stayed in the house we grew up in. She would have been 97. Thanks for sharing your memories 🙂
Barb, it sounds as though you have had a lot of stability in your line, a very good thing. I’m glad you could relate to this post, which I hope conjured up good memories for you. Thanks! 😀
We are who we are because of our Mother and my heart goes out to you in memory of yours . I remember my Aunt saying to me ‘ There is no one like your mother enjoy her why you have her ‘ . Your Mother was the influence for your book and such a joy that has been for many people who have read it , including me . Enjoy your memories Marian , I know I do mine .
You are right, Cherry. My mother was my inspiration for my memoir, along with other close relatives of a bygone generation. I’m glad you have a memorable Mother. What a gift!
Enjoy your weekend, Cherry! 😀