Golden Reflections by Tracy Geisz

“If you want to be young, you need to have young friends,” recommends Shirley Moore.

Can you imagine living 36,500+ days and still having the excitement to see what is next? Shirley Moore is 100 years young, born on May 25, 1921, at Proctor Hospital in Peoria. She graduated from Pekin High School in 1939 and married her high school sweetheart, Alfred “Baldy” Moore, on America’s Birthday, July 4th. They were married for 48 years before Baldy’s passing. She remembers when the going rate for office work or a job at the factory was $0.50 an hour.

It didn’t take long to get this South Pekin resident to start sharing her stories. I only wish you could hear her infectious laugh. She was ready for me to ask my questions as we enjoyed a pork chop sandwich.

Tracy: “What is something you did in your life that was your most favorite thing?”

Shirley: “Going to Charlevoix, Michigan. I love the beach and the water!”

Tracy: “What are you most proud of in your life?”

Shirley: “My son and his two children.”

Tracy: “What are some things you discovered that are most important in life?”

Shirley: “The Lord. My strength. My gift of organization. Having fun. I love to garden and I am not afraid to get dirty. Loving my friends.”

Tracy: “How did you overcome the obstacles you faced in your life?”

Shirley: “With my strength, determination, and persistence!”

Tracy: “What does it take to be happy in life?”

Shirley: “Not a whole lot: two meals a day and a roof over your head. One more thing: Sex on the Beach. The drink.”(There was a great story with that one but I am unable to share.)

Tracy: “What was one of your favorite places to eat, shop, or hang out in Peoria?”

Shirley: “Hunt’s Drive-In was always fun. I loved shopping at Shradskees, Bergners, and Block & Kuhl.”

Tracy: “Who has made the biggest impact on your life and why?”

Shirley: “My Dad. He was a happy-go-lucky Irishman. I could talk to him about anything and everything. He called me “Jack” because he wanted a boy. He never criticized me. He would ask me if I would take the time and think about this or that in my life. Also my Grandma, Ada Barr. She was a feisty, red hot Democrat. She taught me how to cook. She would come over for Sunday dinner and in a teaching way analyze my dinner and give me tips on how to make it better. “Tracy: “What was it about your spouse that you knew he was the one?”

Shirley: “He showed me a lot of love.”

Tracy: “If you could visit any place you’ve already traveled, where would it be and why?”

Shirley: “Besides Charlevoix, Michigan, the time I took Amtrak from Bloomington to Seattle. I loved being on the train with the people and I loved the food.”

Tracy: “How did you get to be 100?”

Shirley: “I have been asked that question a lot lately and it really irritates me! I grew up differently than everyone else. I didn’t go to a doctor until I was 82. When I grew up everyone had a garden, fruit trees, and a grape arbor. We were outside to work in the garden or to play—we were not sitting in our living rooms. It’s also important to have a good sense of humor. Life gives you valleys and mountain tops—just have fun! Also, stop complaining about your aches and pains. We all have aches and pains but I don’t advertise it. My secret to living to 100? Don’t hang out with old people!”

There are five generations alive in Shirley’s family right now. She talked lovingly of her family and told hilarious stories of days gone by. I had the biggest smile in my heart after our interview. Her smile and energy is contagious. I didn’t want the moment to end

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