Mrs. Maxine - Demographics and Beyond
Mrs. Maxine represents my archetypal view of the healthy "seasoned citizen." Maxine is a Caucasian female born in rural, Mullens, West Virginia in 1926. She is the only child of a Southern Baptist, "middle class" family. Joseph Hammond, her father, was a farmer. Her mother, Ruby, was a "full-time parent" and prided herself on "running the house." Maxine explained that farmers wife's were routinely responsible for the day-to-day operations of the household. Her Southern Baptist faith was complements of her parents and minister grandfather.
Maxine's life is a faith-filled journey engulfed with multiple personal tragedies. The first tragedy struck Maxine in the fall of 1928. The relentless weather combined with the struggle to harvest the dwindling crops resulted in Joseph developing pneumonia. The pneumonia took Joseph's life and Maxine's father, when she was only two. Her father's death forced this single parent family to relocate to the "city" to seek employment. In 1930, Ruby accepted employment with as a seamstress at a "shirt factory" in Wytheville, Virginia. During 1935, Ruby was transferred to Christiansburg, Virginia were she continued her seamstress career. Maxine graduated from high school in 1946. Shortly after graduation, Ruby married Benny Liverman and the family moved to Norfolk, Virginia. Maxine and Benny were always distant. Maxine went to work in the fledgling telephone industry with AT&T operator in 1950. While at AT&T she met, courted, and married Cecil Hunt. During this time Maxine became an active member of the faith community at Norview Baptist Church in Norfolk, Virginia. Maxine remains an active member to this day.
Maxine has two children Lynn and Stephen. Stephen, a Naval aviator, died in a car accident during the fall of 1988. Maxine and Cecil built a financially secure life. They invested heavily in AT&T stock and owned multiple rental properties. Cecil died in 1993 from Parkinson's Disease. Maxine married Deacon Curtis Killen, a widower and fellow church member in 1994. They continue active involvement with their religious community as it nears its seventy-fifth anniversary.
During a series of interviews, we explored the following topics:
What is your definition of aging?
Maxine thought this question was quite basic. However, after much thought she stated that aging is simply "advancing in age." Upon further questioning she explained that her definition is a view of the "total process" of aging. She does not define aging in a biological, functional, psychological, sociologic or spiritual domain.
What are you key accomplishments (e.g., active in specific areas, social contributions, volunteer activities, and unique or adventurous activities)?
Maxine explained that what she considers her "key" accomplishments are not actions which society typically views as dramatic. Her most notable accomplishment...