Ruth Mickens celebrates her 100th birthday
Kapa‘a resident Ruth Mickens, wife of the late Major League Baseball player Glenn Mickens and mom of four sons, celebrates her 100th birthday today.
“She met my mother, Barbara Aslett, almost 25 years ago, and has been very good friends with the family,” said Grant Aslett of Wailua. “She is a sweetheart, does everything for everybody. She cooks every time I visit her. She gets up to make a malt for me.”
Aslett said Mickens is still active for her ge.
“Just last week, she drove to Lihu‘e and got her hair done all by herself,” Aslett said. “Glenn, her husband, has been gone for over a year, yet she is very self-sufficient.”
Although Mickens’ family is on the mainland because of this pandemic, she is not celebrating it with them, yet she has a message for them.
“I must be forever grateful,” Mickens said. “I know how lucky I am to be at this age. I miss my family terribly. I have two (family members) in the valley in Los Angeles, one in Boston, one in a town between Los Angeles and San Diego and one in Nevada.”
Mickens explains what she cherishes.
“Today, waking up and being alive,” Mickens said with a chuckle. “I had too many favorite times. I have the joyest times with Barbara, geographically and our friendship, very close for many years, she died around the same time as my husband. We were all friends.”
In loving memory of Glenn Mickens
“My husband was a ball player,” Mickens said. “He was one of the first ball players in Japan. They paid him yen, but at that time, he couldn’t take the yen outside of Japan, so he had to go into some kind of business, buying goods and exporting them to be sold outside of Japan, from 1959 to 1960. But, of course, it’s opposed today.”
Mickens said she spent 25 years in her husband’s business, managing his office, and wants the younger generation to live their purpose.
“Just to be their selves,” Mickens said. “Find what they are interests are and pursue it, and always wake up happy for even waking up.”
Mickens was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa.
“In my memories, so thankful the time I lived the big-band era. Little town, our Sioux City happened to be on the tour with the big bands would visit. All of us teenagers got to enjoy dancing to the big band.”
Mickens left Iowa to pursue her education at the University of South Dakota.
“One year of a college graduate,” Mickens said. “It was a small college town, and they had a bakery.”
Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles, where she stayed for about 40 years. Mickens has been on Kaua’i for 31 years, and remembers how she first felt.
“Yes, I am forever grateful to be here,” Mickens said. “Back in the ’70s, my husband and I fell in love with it. We only had from 10 a.m to 6 p.m., so we rented a car, and back then you could drive from one side of the island to the other side without a stoplight. We fell in awe with Kaua‘i and just had to figure out a way to stay here. I learned everything I could about the family of Wilcox.”
Since 1982, Mickens said she and her husband would come back to Kaua‘i to vacation until they finally made it home in 1989.
“We only lived through Hurricane ‘Iniki,” Mickens said. “My favorite place I used to go to was Kealia Beach, but now my favorite place to eat is Hukilau Lanai.”
Mickens said she will not be celebrating her birthday as planned at Hukilau Lanai because of the pandemic, but she is praying to see another year so she can celebrate her birthday with her ‘ohana.
“I don’t go to the beach anymore,” Mickens said. “I lose my balance. I love the water but I don’t have any control over my balance. I get knocked down and get the giggles and someone needs to help me. It turns out to be a comedy instead.”
Mickens doesn’t have a wish, but instead is spending the rest of her life making sure she takes care of unfinished business.
“I am just grateful,” Mickens said. “To be well and be able to do what needs to be done,” Mickens said. “My bucket list? Just to have things in order, so when I am gone, there isn’t a mess that someone needs to clean up.”
Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.