Anna Newman doesn’t need a lot to find peace in her quiet dwelling at Prestige Senior Living Rosemont in Yelm. Family, friends and three meals starting with a daily 7 a.m. breakfast are enough for her.
A piece of raisin toast, oatmeal and scrambled eggs complete her meal and get her ready for the day at Prestige, where she’s lived for more than seven years.
“I always make sure I have bacon,” Newman said.
Newman, 91, enjoys the friendly community and quiet nature of Yelm. The quiet brings her peace, but she’ll gladly make exceptions when her daughter, Debbie, her great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren visit her, or when she sits at a table with her six close friends at the assisted living center, the friends she calls “my ladies.”
“I love seeing family. To me, family is the most important thing,” Newman said. “Debbie is my rock. If I need something, she brings it to me.”
Newman was raised with seven brothers and one sister; two of her brothers were step-brothers. She was born in Enid, Oklahoma, where she lived until she was 9. She spent the majority of her life in eastern Washington, including Yakima, where her father worked as a foreman for an orchard. She described her household as poor, but the family was always close-knit, and the children played together with homemade toys. Newman remembers her father making her a pair of stilts for her to walk around on.
“We didn’t have TV. We didn’t have these things that the kids have now,” she said. “We always had such a good time together, and we stuck up for each other.”
Four of her brothers fought in World War II and returned uninjured. One brother received a Distinguished Flying Cross, a medal awarded to a person for an act of heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, for saving a plane in England, Newman said. Two brothers retired from the U.S. Navy while another retired from the United States Air Force. She was the baby of the family, but she is the last remaining sibling.
Before graduating high school, she held a job packing cherries and then another as a telephone operator. She first got married in 1951 and raised three children: David, Debbie and Susan, the latter of whom passed away at the age of 70 after a battle with COVID-19. She helped raise four stepchildren with her second husband, who passed away about 20 years ago. Newman has “18 or 19 or 20” grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as three great-great grandsons.
After losing a daughter, her siblings and some of her friends whom she met at Prestige, it would be easy for Newman to feel sad, but her perspective on life has been shaped by the little things she gets to enjoy, whether it is a laugh over a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken with her granddaughter, a walk in the gardens at Prestige or a helping of shrimp fettuccine served by Prestige’s head chef, Ron.
“A lot of people have it a lot harder,” Newman said. “We’ve got a few here that don’t have family, and it’s sad.”
While the Yelm community is still fairly new to her, she’s grown to enjoy how cordial and peaceful the community is. She makes sure to introduce herself to every new resident she encounters and offers help to anyone with questions. As she walks through the hallways with her walker, she greets most everyone by name. These simple gestures are part of her values to enjoy every moment and enjoy the people in her life.
“I’m very blessed and I’m happy to be where I’m at. I really enjoy life,” Newman said.
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