VACHERIE, LA (WAFB) - Celestine Stewart is nearing what will be one of the greatest milestones that very few people ever come close to achieving. Celestine, or "Grandma Lucy" as she is affectionately called by her family members, is only two years away from becoming a centenarian. A centenarian is what one is called once he or she makes 100 years old. So what is it that has contributed to her longevity thus far?
According to family members, Grandma Lucy was always busy and did not tolerate laziness from anyone. When she was a young girl, she had to help grow and pick food with her family so she was no stranger to hard work. Eating homegrown food was definitely a component of her healthy diet.
She continued to have an active attitude towards life as she grew older, and would usually spend her mornings doing her own chores such as cutting her grass before most people woke up and cleaning her house from top to bottom. Another aspect in her staying active was walking everywhere she needed to go instead of driving.
"She never drove," said Merita Williams, one of Grandma Lucy's daughters. "Every time someone tried to teach her, she caught the giggles."
Most important to Grandma Lucy is her loving family. With a total of 11 children, 36 grandchildren, and a countless amount of great grandchildren and so on, one can only imagine how much her family has expanded over the years. She has had a hand in raising several of her descendants and taught all of them valuable lessons along the way.
"If I had nothing to do, she would tell me to find something to do," explained Rashaad Williams, a grandson of Grandma Lucy. "I thought she was being strict but she was only helping me to become more organized and to stick to a schedule," he added.
At her birthday party this year, Grandma Lucy was even more delighted than usual after seeing some family members that she had not seen in quite some time.
"She kept saying that she was so happy at her party last Sunday," stated Renee Stevenson, one of Grandma Lucy's granddaughters.
Besides family, there's another person that can always put a smile on Grandma Lucy's face. His name is Raymond "Raymo" Paul, and he has made it to 100 years of age himself which means he has already earned his centenarian classification. He never misses a party for Grandma Lucy and every year he comes bearing gifts for her such as flowers, jewelry boxes, and other nice things.
With only two years to go until she earns the official centenarian label, Grandma Lucy can hopefully look forward to becoming a super-centenarian at age 110, more great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren, and especially more birthday parties to celebrate her remarkable longevity.