May is national Older Americans Month - Client Reflection
May is national Older Americans Month -
Catholic Charities client reflects on life as an older American
by Heather Welch
Since 1963, communities across the nation have marked Older Americans Month.
Coretta McCoy, an 84-year-old client of Adult Day Services at Catholic Charities and mother of 15 children, said it's fitting to honor older Americans for their contributions to society.
“Older Americans have earned respect, and they have put their stamp on the world,” McCoy said.
McCoy said she was 14-years-old when she and her husband had their first child in 1942. All of her children were born at home on a cotton farm in Arkansas where she and her husband worked in the fields.
“We basically had our babies in the fields,” she said. "We chopped and picked until we couldn’t do it anymore.”
The couple went on to deliver a child every two years, although one was stillborn. She said they had at least one baby born in every month except August. Coretta’s husband, Melvin, passed away in 1989. Her daughters cared for her until her youngest son, Sherman, brought her to Wichita last year.
“My mother has a lot of endurance, is patient and kind,” Sherman said. “Growing up, I learned those things from her. We didn’t have a third of the stuff people have now, but we made it work. We made everything from scratch, and we raised our own food. My parents taught me not to be afraid of hard work.”
McCoy said she is happy and fulfilled in her role as an “older American.” She loves fishing and the outdoors and going shopping with her roommates at Adult Day Services at Catholic Charities.
“My life has been full of God’s grace, from raising all my children to finding a place like Adult Day Services. Now, my children make sure I am well cared for. If you raise 'em right, they will do that for you.”