In a heartwarming display of family history, a group of women recently gathered to capture a special family photo encompassing six generations. Gracie Howell, at 58 years old, proudly shares the story of her 98-year-old grandmother, MaeDell (Taylor) Hawkins, who has lovingly cradled “hundreds of babies” throughout her lifetime. A photo taken just last month features MaeDell tenderly holding her great-great-great-granddaughter, Zhavia, born in December.
What makes this family photo particularly unique, as Gracie explains, is that it showcases all generations as females. The photo includes Gracie herself, her mother Francis, daughter Jacqueline, granddaughter Jaisline (Zhavia’s mother), as well as MaeDell and Zhavia.
Despite nearing her 99th birthday in July, MaeDell remains remarkably sharp and isn’t hesitant to offer child-rearing advice. During the visit, when Zhavia became a bit fussy, MaeDell, now residing in a nursing home, skillfully took her into her arms, creating a heartwarming moment captured in a picture of her tickling Zhavia’s little feet.
Although Gracie acknowledges that her family’s story is indeed remarkable, she never expected the photo to gain such attention. However, after privately sharing the photo and her grandmother’s life story with a local meteorologist, the overwhelming positive response surprised her. It also provided an “amazing” opportunity for her grandmother to receive some well-deserved recognition.
Throughout her life, MaeDell never complained, despite facing challenges such as marrying her first husband, a railroad worker, when she was 16 and he was 50. They went on to raise 13 children together and became step-parents to his ten children. MaeDell lacked modern conveniences like a washer, dryer, dishwasher, and running water, yet her family always had decent meals, supper, and clean clothes.
Gracie fondly remembers a time when her grandmother still didn’t have running water, but MaeDell’s resilience and determination remained unwavering. Over time, the family continued to grow, leading to a sizable and close-knit family.
MaeDell has not only outlived her husbands but also nearly all of her stepchildren. Her life has been full, and Gracie expresses her deep admiration and love for her remarkable grandmother.
In unrelated news, it was reported that Dolly Parton’s songwriter has passed away at the age of 82.