Tomorrow The Art of Living Beautifully will officially re-launch as a website and soon-to-be digital magazine completely dedicated to my hometown, McKinney, Texas. In that spirit, on this last day of the past, I would like to celebrate my first McKinney Muse: the woman responsible for my upbringing in this town as well as my birth, Sara Lois Perkins Long.
Today is my mother’s 70th birthday.
Many of you have the privilege of knowing my mother personally, but for those of you who have never met Sara Long, may I enlighten you?
My mother was the fourth born to a family of five children in East Texas in 1947. Although her father wouldn’t allow her to be a cheerleader or a baton twirler for Mt. Pleasant High School due to the short skirt length, she nevertheless thrived with lots of friends and activities. It was at this age that two significant parts of my mother’s life began: one she fell in love with art; and two she fell in love with my father. To this day, both are synonymous with her existence.
In the Fall of 1965, Sadie (her nickname) followed in her sister Mary Martha’s shoes and studied education at Texas Christian University where she pledged the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. After 2 years at TCU, a proposal, a wedding, 2 years at The University of Texas, a degree, and one child my parents moved north to McKinney and have made our North Texas gem their home ever since…except once a month when they visit their home on the Texas coast.
Since her move to McKinney in 1970, my mother has contributed to this community in more ways than one. She taught for McKinney ISD as an art teacher at McKinney High School for one year in 1970 and then returning twenty one years later to teach another five years. She is a member of the Master Gardeners of Collin County and twice has served as President for the Owl Forum Club–which happens to be one of the oldest ladies’ clubs in McKinney. My mother has even been a member of her Supper Club in old Eldorado for nearly 30 years. Establishing friendships with deep roots is one of her greatest strengths.
My mother is a grandmother of 7, all of whom she has cultivated a personal, close relationship. Each time one of them was born, she took weeks out of her life to stay with us and help with our new babies. Her bond with each grandchild began the day they were born and continues to grow today.
Rave Reviews from those who know her best:
My long time friend, Sara, is the most talented, energetic and creative person I know. I marvel at how much time and energy and love she gives to the people in her life. I am blessed to have her in my life. I love you, Sara‼️🎂 Happy Birthday!! —Judy Tannery, friend
Loyal, loving, brave, fun, full of artistic creations & amazing paintings, devoted gardener, fanatic knitter, secret keeper , kitty lover, & lifetime friend best describes my friend Sara! ❤️Mary Nell. —Mary Nell Jackson, friend
Happy Happy Birthday to my precious Friend. May you have many more years filled with love, joy, and good health. I love you very much, Sherry —Sherry Hendricks, friend
Happy Birthday to my beautiful friend. I have always admired you for your strength and love for God, family and friends. God Bless you on your 70th Birthday. love you always, Lynda. —Lynda Comegys, friend
Mom – Just want to say thanks for all you’ve given me over my 45 years. So much of what I like about myself are direct attributes I’ve inherited from you. I hope you have a great 70th birthday, and I expect you’ll have 25-30 more just like it! —Matthew Long, son
I have the most loving, thoughtful, generous mother-in-law in the world. Sadie treats me – and loves me – as though I were one of her own, and I am grateful for our close relationship. I am inspired daily by her dedication to her family. Happy 70th and many more, Sadie! Love, Jennifer
—Jennifer Long, daughter-in-law