When you’ve known someone since fourth grade, as I have Kay Whaley, there’s a tendency to lock them in at that age. I remember 8-year old Kay; the girl with the waist-long hair, the cheerleader with the barely-scuffed saddle oxfords, the most stylish person I knew. She was the baby of her family and therefore, her worldliness far greater; she had teenaged siblings who were on the forefront of all pop-culture (music, sports, fashion/style, etc.). We grew up together from 4th grade through high school. I still remember her childhood phone number, perhaps because I gave it to a kid in middle school, and I should not have (he seemed so smitten, I guess I thought he deserved the chance to chat with her. . .) Our lives took us to different parts of the country as young adults but when we reconnected in the late 90s, it was like no time had passed. Kay was exactly as she’d always been. . . so sweet, well-mannered, beautiful, humble, and easy to laugh. She is a part of my bedrock and my childhood foundation. I’m selfishly proud that my husband and daughter have gotten to know her, because in a way, it’s them getting a better understanding of me. To this day, I continue to learn from her as a daughter, sister, parent and spouse. She’s exemplary in each role. Thank you, Kay, for being that person in my life. Your mark has been indelible. Happy Birthday! All my love, P.
What did you do within the year of graduation in 1984? I attended West Georgia College for four years and earned a BA in Anthropology.
Give us a brief description of what’s been going on in your life since graduating? After graduating college, I began my career with Delta Air Lines as a flight attendant. I will be celebrating 26 years with Delta this month (January), and I still love my job! In 1992, I moved back to my hometown of McDonough, and in 1993 I married a hometown boy, Jeff Rowan. We settled in and began a family. In March, we celebrated 23 years of marriage and are the parents of three glorious, beautiful, teenagers.
What activity brings you great joy? Precious family time gives me the greatest joy. The luxury of spending time both individually and all together, with each of my three children, whose personalities are all very different, is what I love most.
Do you still see any of your friends from high school? Explain. Only occasionally do I see friends from high school.
How do you feel about turning 50? What does “50” mean to you? Fifty is just another number. I feel good about life, and I would not turn back time. Life has been good to me. I am blessed!
What do you do to maintain your looks? (hair, makeup, skin care, exercise, etc.) I maintain my looks by taking occasional trips to the spa for facials. I have a standing appointment with my hairstylist every four weeks to tweak the roots and get a trim. I limit my carb intake and take long walks with my daughter.
Knowing what you now know, what advice would you give your 18-year old self? DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK! Enjoy the little things. Talk to your parents more and LISTEN to them, spend more time with them, learn from them, take notes on family histories AND make sure that you get mom’s cookbook when she’s gone.
What guilty pleasures do you allow yourself? Guilty pleasures? Quiet time on the porch at the lake before anyone wakes, with my very large cup of coffee.
What does the next decade hold for you? What are your dreams and wishes for this decade? Nothing will give me greater pleasure than to see my 3 children graduate from college and find their way into successful careers that make them happy. I will continue to work; again, I still love my job! Jeff will retire at 55, and our goal is to move to our little slice of heaven at the lake. We love it there.
Portraits courtesy of Ann Bertschin Photography.