September 5, 1929 - April 21, 2020
Memories of Pedgie Collins. Pedgie Collins was born on September 5, 1929 in a one room, South Carolina, log cabin. The daughter of sharecroppers, she was raised without running water, plumbing, or electricity. Transportation was basically walking, or the family oxcart. Yes, I said oxcart. They could not afford a mule or donkey. She says that she was 16 years old and married to my father before she discovered that socks did not come with holes already in them. Married at 16 to a sailor, she experienced the 20th century for the first time in Navy housing. I was born when she was a girl of 17, my brother, when she was 20 and we essentially grew up together. She was an especially beautiful young woman and people often mistook her for my older sister. During her 1st 20+ years of marriage, she and her 2 sons moved frequently as her husband’s military postings dictated. Her 1st marriage dissolved in 1968, and she subsequently remarried John Collins, hence the name change from Mixon to Collins. John was in fact a wonderful man and gave her great joy during their decades together. Together they traveled much of the world. They danced, laughed, and made friends everywhere they went. John’s death in 2007 was a traumatic blow to Pedgie. But after a couple of years of grieving, she regained her cheerful upbeat disposition and started exploring the world on her own. She was fiercely independent and unafraid of anything during her life. At 81 she decided that she wanted to see the 7 wonders of the world. When she discovered that there were 2 separate lists of 7 wonders, she determined to see them all. And she did. She walked the Great Wall of China. She traveled to the Middle East and saw caves and wonders. In Peru she went to the top of the world to see Machu Picchu, sleeping in a bare monk’s cell one night in route. That year, Europe, Asia or South America were all her stomping grounds. The following year she decided that she wanted to sail the 7 seas. So she booked passage on a were around the world cruise and spent 4 months exploring all of the seas and coastal cities the world had to offer. The next year she decided to set foot on every continent on the planet including Antarctica, going far north of the Arctic Circle, and revisiting Asia, India, Europe, South America, and Australia. Along the way she stopped in Iceland just for good measure. Then she took a year off to learn to paint, and in the process, became Port Orchard’s version of grandma Moses. Over the next few years. She took 6-week jaunts to South Korea, several South American countries, and enjoyed winter beaches in Florida and South Carolina with one deviation to a Mexican resort. As she approached 90. She continued to live alone, hit the gym 5 days a week, drive her own car, and be strongly opinionated about politics. She took 2 more round the world cruises just to keep from being bored. Suddenly on December 26, 2019, she had an episode of confusion and got lost 2 blocks from home. I had her admitted to the hospital and worked her up thinking that she may have had a little stroke, but instead found multiple lesions/tumors scattered through her brain. Recognizing that her years alone were at an end, she wisely agreed to move over to Kirkland where she could be close to me. Over the next few months her condition deteriorated, but we visited several times every day. She was never afraid. She hated becoming dependent on other people and as 1 of the tumors destroyed her sight and her world became more constrained, she began to anticipate and look forward to death. This was not morbid or fearful in any way. She and I laughed and joked while speculating exactly what the afterlife would be and who she would be with. Would Simeon her 1st husband come together, or John her later Love be her companion during the transition. Or would the 2 of them come and cooperate in the process. I told her that it might be the 2 of them but knowing her cantankerous nature might want to bring some friends just to keep her well-controlled. She told me repeatedly and with great heat that “this waiting around to die is the horse’s ass”! During her last few days, she began sleeping most of the time. On our last morning her breathing was shallow, and it was obvious that she would Leave me that day. In her last hours I lay next to her with her cheek against mine so that she could feel me there, if she were even slightly aware. I held her close to me as her breathing became progressively shallower and her color began to change. Finally, her breathing stopped and the only human being that I have known and loved for my entire life was gone. She lived a spectacular life and had an eminently peaceful death in the company of someone who loved her deeply. I don’t know exactly where she went or what she’s doing now. But most of her friends and both of her husbands have been dead for many years and now they’re all together. I suspect there’s a lot of laughter, teasing each other about the mistakes and foolishness that they indulged in during their mortality, and mom being mom, there’s a cheerful and optimistic plan for the future. Jerry in Mixon MD, Pedgie’s loving son
Memories of Pedgie Collins. Pedgie Collins was born on September 5, 1929 in a one room, South Carolina, log cabin. The daughter of sharecroppers, she was raised without running water, plumbing, or electricity. Transportation was basically... View Obituary & Service Information
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