Turning 90 is not what it used to be!

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Mrs. Higgins and her beautiful girls – from left Stephanie, Carole and Meredith. Ninety never looked so good.


When the Bucket girls arrived in Austin last month for four fun-filled days on beautiful Lake Travis, Kathleen Higgins was the first to put on her bathing suit and hit the sun. The rest of us were too shy or too chubby.

(Editor’s note: We have taken to calling ourselves the Bucket girls because we have begun serious work on our list of things we hope to do before we depart this life.)

Mrs. Higgins flew out with us to visit her daughter Carole – our compatriot and enabler for the Bucket girls’ exhaustive list. Her husband Don has been voted husband of the month for his hospitality, patience and for taking us out on the jet skis. He is not only “hot” he is nice!

Never mind that Mrs. Higgins was standing on the threshold of age 90 and had recently suffered a broken hip. My friend Norma, took one look at her legs and shook her head. “We can’t compete with that,” she complained.

Nothing could slow Mrs. Higgins down and she kept pace with her 50-something pals – leaping in front of us on numerous occasions.

Miss Higgins on boat

Mrs. Higgins at right was first mate on the Cobalt speed boat – not to be confused with the house boat which is the size of my home – three bedrooms, two baths and a better plumbing system.


Mrs. Higgins, a proper and genteel British lady, let her hair down and showed us the British aren’t so stuffy after all. She also taught us that age 90 is no excuse to sit down and become “old.” She continues to prove it with her exceptional life.

Today we had a birthday party for Mrs. Higgins on the occasion of her entry into the ninth decade of her life. Friends and family members celebrated a marvelous woman who can mesmerize you with tales of being bombed during the BIG war and the bigger war – trying to adjust to life in the Deep South.

Mrs. Higgins became a Mississippian more than 60 years ago when she was swept off her feet by an American GI named Harvey. In 1947, she gave birth to our beloved Carole who is one of the “Bucket girls.” She and Harvey operated Higgins’ Five and Dime for some three decades. We thought they were magical with all those toys and trinkets to light up our lives. Mr. Harvey is deceased now, but Mrs. Higgins is a bright spot on the landscape of West Point, Mississippi.

Mrs. Higgins entreated us to call her “Kathy” during the “Bucket Trip” but it got hung up in my throat. She will always be Mrs. Higgins to me and I smile as I think of her beautiful British accent spiced up with a little southern drawl. Happy birthday Kath….er, Mrs. Higgins. We love you! We are making plans for your 10th decade. We’re thinking the Himalayas?

More party photos:

4 thoughts on “Turning 90 is not what it used to be!

  1. A beautiful tribute to a “very special” lady! She is such an inspiration to
    all of us, so hop on girls, there are places to go and things to do.

  2. What a wonderful birthday party for a special lady! and what a role model for us all!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY,MRS. HIGGINS! and many, many more!

  3. Emily, thank you for such a wonderful write-up on Mother. She really enjoyed it. Got you’re voice mail after we got back home from Anthony’s. We had a wonderful dinner w/ our friends from Austin, my cousin, Louis and his wife, our girls and of course, Mother. Next time you go, ask if they have the Beef Wellington special. It was WONDERFUL! Don has duly impressed w/ West Point’s finest cuisine… Especially after eating at Cathy’s restaurant (not recommended) on Wed. night.

    You and the girls are very special to me, and I do hope that I can do more with you all in the future now that I’m retired.

    The boat, btw, is a Cobalt. The jet ski is a SeaDoo. 🙂

  4. Talk about good genes. Can’t you picture Carole out with her daughters at 90+! The party was fabulous. I enjoyed seeing Mrs. Higgins, Carole, Don, Stephanie, Meredith, and all the West Point folks. Mrs. Higgins, you are such an inspiration to us all. And I was nervous about getting on a jet ski!

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