It was standing room only in a warm, wood-paneled home on North Martin Luther King Boulevard New Year’s night, 2016.
Six generations of a Lexington family came together to wish 94-year-old matriarch Fannie Kendrick a happy birthday.
Kendrick, sitting in a blue armchair, shows reluctance when asked if she feels lucky to have such a big family.
“Lucky? I feel silly,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick would later retreat from the living room at the suggestion for a group photo.
74-year-old daughter Mary Higgins is among the many family members who came to celebrate.
“I’m so proud that my mother will be 94 and in pretty good health,” she said.
Higgins said living in Lexington hasn’t always been easy for her family. As a teen, she remembers running from people who wanted to fight. Later, she taught her family when to stand their ground, as her mother, the birthday girl, showed her.
But she said she does see things getting easier for the younger members of her family.
“It’s just like a loaf of bread, you take (Kendrick’s) generation and go up and up and up and up,” Higgins said.
Higgins said there are a lot of benefits to having a big family such as hers. Being tight-knit and loving is key.
“All of my grandchildren and my children are friends,” Higgins said.
Higgins estimated that her mother has 25-30 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
“When one kid was in trouble, we were all in trouble,” granddaughter Latrice said, adding that because there are so many in their family, sometimes people get called the wrong name.
Tyesha, another grandchild, reminisced about a time when she and a sibling played a joke on grandmother Higgins by removing a seat cushion.
Higgins got them back by putting a Halloween mask on a vacuum cleaner in a dark part of the house, scaring the girls.
“She was right there on the floor with you,” Higgins said, laughing.
Kendrick, the birthday girl, whispered in great-granddaughter Roniesha’s ear, which cracked her up.
“Granny’s got jokes,” Roniesha said.
Before long, more laughing and more guests arrived for the celebration as six generations are coaxed into crowding around Kendrick’s blue armchair for a photo.
Holding baby Ty’Leah, 1, the way she’s held so many of the women in her family, Kendrick doesn’t have to say anything about how she feels about her family.
You can see it in her eyes.