A civil rights icon was also Auntie Rosa: Sheila’s Story

February 22, 2021
Strength and compassion run in the family.
By Lori Bender - American House

Sheila talks a lot about doing what’s right and treating people how you want to be treated; it’s how she lives her life, it’s who she is. She comes by it naturally, having been raised in a loving family, a family led by a strong matriarch, her Aunt…Rosa Parks.

Like the civil rights leader she adored as Auntie Rosa, Sheila effortlessly practices positivity in every aspect of her life. She does what she feels is right whether at work, with family or friends at American House. About working at Sam’s Club, “I like to say something uplifting. I always tell them, take care all.” Because as she says, “I think everybody wants to be loved. Everybody wants someone to care if they're getting what they need. So that's my job.”

Sheila feels we are put here to do something, and that things happen for a reason. Like finding a home at American House, “I feel that I've been so well-protected here during the pandemic. They make sure everything is clean for us, they really care, it is just a beautiful thing. And I think oh my goodness, I'm here for a reason.” 

Auntie Rosa was her example to live life with purpose. She was a health nut, according to Sheila, “She walked everywhere. She started doing yoga at 70, so I started doing yoga.” It was one of the ways Rosa kept calm while in the public eye. “I learned from her to stay calm in situations. I also learned that if I see something is not right to say something about it,” she says. “She never, you know, sat us down and put us in a little training school situation. I just observed her strength.”

The world mourned the passing of Rosa Parks, but because the funeral was such a public event, the family didn’t have time to grieve. They came together and properly shared their memories, which became a book called “Our Auntie Rosa”, written by Sheila. “It was a compilation of all the loving memories that went into us growing up and spending time with our Aunt. We had lots of stories. Lots of them are funny, lots of Sunday dinners.”

“I tell my grandkids stories because this is how I am passing down to them. I'm always writing and I'm starting to send manuscripts out for my second book. That's another reason why I like it here at American House because it's quiet and I can sit and I can write, you know, so that's nice. I like doing that.”

It seems her past has proven true, “We are exactly who we’re supposed to be, sitting exactly where we’re supposed to be sitting.” 

We all have a story. A story that taught us something, changed us and helped define who we are. Our seniors have amazing stories that hold a wealth of wisdom. At American House, your next chapter is waiting to be written. We’re here to help you write it. Your way.

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