beauty and laughter at 96

the other evening dan & i went to our local mexican joint for a quick bite with the blue eyes. we’re regulars there, visiting at least once a week. it’s sorta a dive but has the best authentic mexican food in atlanta ( in my humble opinion). i mention that it’s sorta a dive because that’s important to the story. it’s not often that folks come in all spiffed up and snazzy.

well that particular evening, in walks a handsome older man with three beautiful women, all wearing matching gorgeous dresses. the girls and i did a collective “awwww… sweet are they?” followed by a ” oh, look at that precious little granny”….

we sat there and in some form of  stalking subtlely became so intrigued by them. who were they? was the oldest woman the mother of the other two? were their dresses from Guatemala?

i began to think strange things like, i wish i had my camera. they proceeded to laugh and enjoy their meal….and order a pitcher of margaritas. granny was drinking a margarita. of course granny was drinking a margarita. heaven help me.

i leaned over & asked dan if he had any of my business cards on him. madison left to meet friends for desert & i asked caroline, “when i’m in my 90’s will you promise me you’ll dress me up in a matching dress and make sure my hair is cut in a cute stylish bob? will you take me out for mexican and for crying out loud, will you buy me a pitcher of margaritas?”

( refer to above stalker-style subtle image)


well. i couldn’t take the cuteness of the moment anymore. i see life through a lens. what can i say? so i walked up & told the gentlemen that he was clearly the luckiest man in there, sitting with three gorgeous women. we began to chat. turns out “granny” was indeed the mother of other two women. she’s 96. 96 years old, eating enchiladas and sipping a margarita.

i asked if they were local….the mother lives in my area but the daughters were visiting from out of state. i told them that i would love to take their photo but i didn’t have my camera with me, ( free of course. i don’t solicit in mexican restaurants. i promise). could i come by their home tomorrow? ( it was raining outside). one of the women was leaving early in the morning….could i meet them after dinner.

i looked at my watch. if it stopped raining, i would only have minutes, if even, to photograph them before it was too dark.

so we paid our bill & i ran home, grabbed my camera & waited for their arrival at “granny’s” home.

as soon as they arrived, i explained that i wasn’t a local weirdo. i told them that if i were out to eat with my daughters , dressed in glory, i would love my photograph taken. they laughed & smiled as “granny” got out of the car. they dolled her up with lipstick while i quickly introduced myself, to Miss Lorayne, as she informed us that she could only stand for just a moment. no time to chase the sunset for the perfect back lighting, just a quick couple snapshots before they took her inside to get settled.

the “older gentlemen” with them was chatting with caroline during my speedy photosession. when i turned around, he said to me, “when you get home, google Phil Cavarretta. you’re probably way to young to recognize the name, but Miss Lorayne’s husband was MVP ’45 for the Chicago Cubs”.

as the women, miss diana & miss patti came outside, i was going nuts. i love baseball. dan is a vault for baseball history. he was going to love this. while he was telling me about Phil’s decorated career, miss diana and miss patti were carrying a frame full of images of miss lorayne and phil in their youth.

wow. ya’ll. miss lorayne was stunning! STUNNING! she and her handsome pro-baseball husband looked like hollywood royalty. i was floored.  i asked more and more about their story. miss lorayne had told her daughters she hoped to live to 100! she had only been widowed 3 years ago. a true life long love story.

i knew it. as we sat there in Los Hermanos watching the interactions of this family, i knew there was a  beautiful story there…


i raced home & could hardly wait to bust in the door and tell dan about miss patti & miss diana, miss lorayne and her famous MVP hubby and their life long love story. we googled phil…dan read the names out loud, cavaretta had played in three world series against lou gehrig and joe dimaggio and the NY yankees ( dan’s from long island and a huge yankees fan). ( this was awesome!-we smiled and read more—)–In his 22-year major league career, Cavaretta compiled a .293 batting average with 95 home runs and 920 RBI. He later managed in the minor leagues from 1956 to 1958 and again from 1965 to 1972, became a coach and scout with the Tigers, and was a New York Mets organizational hitting instructor.

Cavaretta was the last living player to have played against Babe Ruth in a major league game; he did so on May 12, 1935, against the Boston Braves

unreal. i love it. i love baseball. i love a story. i love mothers & daughters that dress alike & laugh together over mexican food and margaritas & i love that these beautiful women shared a glimpse of their life with me….


miss lorayne, you are still a head turning, stunning woman. 96 years young! ps- your daughters invited me to photograph your 100 year birthday party! i’m already planning my outfit! see you soon!

July 31, 2013 - 8:35 am

Michelle - Paige this is precious! My grandmother is 97. It is such a blessing to know someone that is living a long and eventful life. Thank you for sharing. Have a lovely day.

July 31, 2013 - 8:39 am

Ang - Adorable!!! I too, can only hope I will be sippin margaritas at 96!!!

July 31, 2013 - 8:48 am

Deborah - Awesome and stunning. What a great blessing to pick that restaurant that evening.

July 31, 2013 - 8:52 am

ashley @ the handmade home - This post just made me tear up a little. FANTASTIC. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who tries to figure out peoples’ stories when they sit across from me at a restaurant. I love this so much! Who knew? That woman is gorgeous. I can’t wait to see her 100th birthday shots!

July 31, 2013 - 8:58 am

Jen@thecottagenest - Paige, this is so beautiful. The pictures, the history, the fact that you were so compelled to photograph them. What a moment to be cherished by all!

July 31, 2013 - 9:00 am

Pam - Beautiful, touching, heartwarming story. Thank you for sharing.

July 31, 2013 - 9:02 am

Pat Fowler - Paige, what a lovely story! Thank you for sharing and I, too, hope I’m sipping margaritas in my 90’s.

July 31, 2013 - 9:02 am

Gina - Paige
This is absolutely fabulous!!! What a joy to have met such beauties. You gave that family a priceless gift. I just love it

July 31, 2013 - 9:07 am

Lindsey - Oh, I just love this! Thanks for sharing!

July 31, 2013 - 9:18 am

Casey - Oh my goodness, what beautiful, stunning women. I’m an estate planning attorney with a strong focus on elder law, and I ADORE working with senior citizens. They make me love my job. I could sit and listen to their stories for HOURS. What a lovely, lovely experience for you! And, just goes to show…never hurts to be friendly 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 9:23 am

Denise Bast - Without a doubt, one of my favorite posts of yours! Just curious, did you find out the story about the matching dresses?

July 31, 2013 - 9:25 am

becky - such a beautiful story! i pray that i am as lucky as miss lorayne and will live to 96 to sip cocktails with my girls! such an inspiration!

July 31, 2013 - 9:27 am

Melissa - Oh my goodness what a neat neat story! I love those dreesses on them – I actually have two just like that from Mexico. Wore one in Guatemala!

July 31, 2013 - 9:34 am

Kerry - This post made my day! What a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing. I will be smiling a ll day because of it!

July 31, 2013 - 9:38 am

angela - My word I want this. I want this story to be MINE. I want to dress like my girls and eat Mexican and sip a Margarita and trust enough to have a stranger take my picture. This might be my favorite post ever. I love that you saw a story and went with it. Well done Paige. Well done.

July 31, 2013 - 9:46 am

Lucinda - First off I’m getting my mexican dress out again and am going to start wearing it. Love the look!

What a wonderful story all because you took the time to talk to them. I’m sure you made their day as well.

Thanks for sharing!

July 31, 2013 - 9:49 am

Gwyn Rosser - Such a sweet story. Well done. 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 9:50 am

patty - first of all, the tears! what a wonderful post. i love your bravery, and you were so rewarded by it. i love this last picture of miss lorayne. i love that your family eats mexican weekly, too {we have family dinner-party of 5- every sunday at our local mexican restaurant}. and of course, i love baseball, too.

July 31, 2013 - 10:25 am

smk - mom, this is the sweetest story!! i cried… so so so so special

July 31, 2013 - 10:32 am

Sharyn - MADE MY DAY. What a fantastic encounter! Lorayne was and is a total babe!

July 31, 2013 - 10:33 am

Susie - How absolutely precious! She was (and still is) a looker! Thanks for your boldness, otherwise we would not have seen the love these daughters have for their mother! There is nothing like it!

July 31, 2013 - 10:34 am

Kimberly Falls - I love this so much! Thank you for saying yes to God’s prompting to find out their story and take pictures and write it down…and now He is using it to inspire others. God’s grace in the everyday….just have to look for it! Thanks again for obeying and sharing!

July 31, 2013 - 10:43 am

Missy - Just found your blog via a friend on facebook and I love this story! What a beautiful woman….the young and old versions, and an amazing history. I bet you wish you were could have spent hours listening to her story…what a treasure of memories! My grandpa just had his 85th bday this past weekend, and the way he and my grandma are going, I believe we’ll be sitting around celebrating their 96th bdays as well!
Thanks for the story 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 10:49 am

Susie Nelson - Paige, What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

July 31, 2013 - 10:53 am

lisa - omg – LOVE the story – the pics – the matching dresses. what a treasure for the beautiful daughters to have these great photos of themselves and miss lorayne…

July 31, 2013 - 11:14 am

Talia - This is absolutely adorable! Thank you for sharing this great story. The photos are, as always, lovely!

July 31, 2013 - 11:16 am

Ella - What an amazing story!
I’m sure you are happy you approached them & didn’t just leave.
Those matching dresses!

July 31, 2013 - 11:33 am

Sarah L. - Wow…that was so touching, sweet & wonderful. I’ve got tears in my eyes. What a sweet gift you gave them & what a treat they gave to you!


PS – I love to people watch & wonder.

July 31, 2013 - 11:34 am

laurie overholtzer - I wish I was courageous enough to approach someone like that and hear such a wonderful story of love. Thank you for sharing. That was wonderful!

July 31, 2013 - 11:45 am

jennifer draper - am i the only one crying as i read this? love your boldness and the photos. certainly hope my girls will take me for margaritas at 96 too!

July 31, 2013 - 12:14 pm

Tina - This was such a touching story, just had to share it with my Facebook friends! They’ll love it too!

July 31, 2013 - 12:37 pm

chrissi - thank you paige for being brave enough to approach strangers, so we can get a glimpse at this beauty. you are right, movie star looks, even now. such a face. such a story. what a testament to the way she raised her girls that they take such care and truly value her. i don’t think i will ever drink a margarita again without recalling this little lady and your photographs.♥

July 31, 2013 - 12:44 pm

DebZorn - Her daughters will treasure those pictures forever. What a kind, thoughtful thing for you to do. (Though I’m sure that none of your readers are surprised at your generosity.)Thank you for sharing their sweet story.

July 31, 2013 - 1:05 pm

LOLO - Are you kidding me Paige?! Seriously beyond beautiful….All of you xoxo

July 31, 2013 - 1:29 pm

candace - what a wonderful happy story. thank you for sharing.

July 31, 2013 - 2:29 pm

Catherine - Oh my word! I got tears! this is a fantastic story!

July 31, 2013 - 2:29 pm

Lindsay - This story is absolutely adorable! I love that you took an opportunity to go up to that table and offered to take their picture. Can you even imagine if you wouldn’t have done that? You wouldn’t have captured a beautiful memory and what a tragedy that would have been. Good for you!

July 31, 2013 - 2:45 pm

Melanie - This is one of my favorite things ever! Love it so much!

July 31, 2013 - 3:15 pm

Kelli - oh paige! that is the sweetest story and i absolutely needed that today – just lovely – aren’t you the best for going up to talk to them. love it!

July 31, 2013 - 3:16 pm

Jenny Cornfield - This was such a lovely post! Thank you!

July 31, 2013 - 3:44 pm

Alecia - Oh Paige…I am laughing & crying all from this one post!!! I laugh b/c you & I are very similar…you did something I would TOTALLY do…I would have to hear their story as well & ask to take pictures…my friends would’ve KILLED me though…I’m soooo glad you did it!!! These pictures are such a beautiful gift for them. I can’t wait to see pics from the 100th!!! She was & still is a STUNNER! How precious for her daughters to have these wonderful pictures.

July 31, 2013 - 3:58 pm

Mickey - What a wonderful post, it brought tears to my eyes! I am an long time Chicago Cub fan as is my family, I will google Phil as soon as I am finished. Thanks for sharing and I love reading your blog, I check everyday. Mickey in PA!

July 31, 2013 - 4:07 pm

sheri - that is perfect – I LOVE it – My mom and two of her sisters are We call them the Golden Girls – speaking of stalking LOL – Sav and I totally stalked a bridal luncheon a few weeks ago and I took a pic just like you did of Caroline of Sav just so I could get the table of the classy girls in black dresses and pearls with their tiffany bags – ah haaa – great minds think alike. xo

July 31, 2013 - 4:32 pm

Denise - This is such a beautiful story! God bless you for offering to take their photo! Such beautiful ladies. I’m sure you made their evening. I hope someone offers to take a photo of my daughter and I when I’m 96.

July 31, 2013 - 4:54 pm

Lori H - You share the best stories, Paige! I so enjoyed this. Miss Lorayne is/was a knock-out. I hope I have that much spunk when I am her age!

July 31, 2013 - 5:47 pm

robinanne - I continue to hold true to the lesson, ALWAYS have your camera close by. If not, your liable to miss something fabulous! So glad yours was not far away! I hope I someday have a chance to meet someone like her, to her such a phenomenal story, and to photograph her would be such a huge blessing. My favorite photos are of the hands. I also love going away or shots from the back! Great job my friend…continue to be bold, it suits you well!

July 31, 2013 - 6:25 pm

Cathy G. - This story is so heart warming and beautiful!!!! Aren’t you glad you spoke with them???? I love baseball too! My grandfather played pro ball in Canada and once played against Satchel Paige!!! I love to hear of people’s lives especially during the 1930’s and 40’s…. Thanks for sharing this special time!!!!!!

July 31, 2013 - 6:39 pm

Lynne - I love your blog, and absolutely loved this posting. What a cool story. Love the pics and the pure love and sweetness displayed in each one!

July 31, 2013 - 7:23 pm

Stevie - Paige…I have been a long time reader of your blog but this could be my first comment. This post…outstanding and beautiful. I love that you engaged strangers and from it came a beautiful story. The love story, baseball history, the care she’s getting from her family…simply beautiful. And really who doesn’t hope to be drinking maragarita’s when they’re 96. Well done and thanks for sharing with us!

July 31, 2013 - 8:47 pm

Amy - What you did for these ladies was priceless…. WOW! Thank you for being the person that took note of something beautiful and captured it with your lens…simply because you were moved.

July 31, 2013 - 10:00 pm

Christie - Love love love this! So beautiful, just made my day!

July 31, 2013 - 10:25 pm

tara - I love it when I laugh and cry in a single post.
This is amazing.

I laughed over granny drinking margaritas.

I think you should make your girls PROMISE to buy matching dresses and drink margaritas and eat enchiladas with you.

I cried over the shots you captured of her with her girls. Makes me LONG to have pictures with my own mother before it’s too late.

you know I’m DYING to know about the dresses. Where are they from???

July 31, 2013 - 11:32 pm

TERESA - Paige, you are just the best thing ever! I *love* this story, the photos and your blog! Did you photograph the man who took them out to dinner? 🙂 GREAT POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 1, 2013 - 1:46 am

Holly - i LOVE this story!! brought tears to my eyes and made me miss my Mimi! What an awesome opportunity and story learned!!

August 1, 2013 - 2:06 am

Destiny - I’m not sure when it started, or exactly why, but I was full blown crying by the end of this sweet post.

I just love that you (as my boys/friends often accuse me of doing with strangers.) “invited” yourself into their lives, and I have absolutely no doubt that you made their day. What a treasure for them to have the pictures you took, along with the memories you captured. They are precious, and I have no doubt that they will be framed and proudly hung in their homes. So fun and well done!

August 1, 2013 - 2:47 am

Jackie - Paige, this post was spectacularly beautiful. Tears streamed down my face as I read more and more about this family, and how you’ve now documented it here. It was by no means a chance encounter, but a God-planned one. How very special that you were able to stop and take notice, though of course they were unmissable! What a beautiful family, with a beautiful story. Thank you for telling it.

August 1, 2013 - 6:52 am

Renee Ford - Love!!! Through the tears. What a beautiful story. What a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing.

August 1, 2013 - 6:53 am

Mimi - You’re an angel paige❤these pictures will be treasured by this family. Lorayne is awesome and I love that they all had the same dress for the night. The best! We should all party like we’re 96. Sending this to my sisters right now. Thanks mimi

August 1, 2013 - 9:25 am

One Fabulous Mom - That is an incredible story!!! I took a picture of something the other day, kid of striking and made me think. I will post soon. xo

August 1, 2013 - 11:21 am

Mary Anne - I just LOVE this story! What a beautiful gift you gave those sweet ladies! Love the baseball connection! I grew up on Long Island! I thought I remembered hearing Dan was from NY, but didn’t realize L.I!!!!!

August 1, 2013 - 11:30 am

Michelle - I absolutely LOVE this story. Beautiful in every way. Your narrative illustration. . . the amazing pictures. . . the heritage of lasting relations. . . and celebrating true female loveliness at any age. Oh, and I, too, love baseball and the YANKs are my team.

It was like a novel I wanted to keep reading. Thanks for sharing.

August 1, 2013 - 11:53 am

Mimi - I love this post! Thank you for sharing and acting on impulse —you were blessed and so were they!

August 1, 2013 - 1:03 pm

Vickie - I love this post so much. It reminds me of so many happy days and times with my Mom. She lived to be 100 and was so adorable, people stopped us many times and complimented her. She is part of so many of my happiest memories, I loved her so. I am sure that the daughters will treasure the day and the opportunity to share their love for their Mom with you and now us. I know that they had to love how special the whole experience must have made their Mom feel. Good for you! The photos are wonderful. Vickie

August 1, 2013 - 3:46 pm

lissa - this is my favorite post you’ve ever written and I’ve been reading for a long time. 😉 (before I ever started blogging- remember?) Anyway, I think this is what life is all about, being in the moment, blessing, and letting our lights shine. I’m challenged by this post and also am kinda craving a margarita. tee hee.

August 1, 2013 - 6:26 pm

Kim from 3 peanuts - Oh Paige!!! I love this story so much. What beautiful women and what a beautiful gesture. I did something similar at the beach (caught a proposal) It is so nice to share the gift of photography with others.

You know we have a local tex mex dive that we frequent almost weekly too;) Love you.

August 1, 2013 - 9:22 pm

Heidi @ Decor & More - This was totally my “happy” for today! Beautiful story!
Xo Heidi

August 2, 2013 - 1:01 am

Rach - Oh! Made me cry too! All three of those women are just beautiful.
The pictures are so amazing. They say so many things.

August 2, 2013 - 3:33 am

Sophie - God bless, she is beautiful!!thanks for sharing!!

August 2, 2013 - 1:05 pm

Michelle C - Absolutely a beautiful story!! Thank you for sharing Paige!

August 2, 2013 - 5:04 pm

Sandy Jacobson - Hi Paige,

This posting was a real treat to read. Beautiful story with beautiful people :O) The pics came out so nice. Blessings!

August 3, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Lee Ann - Awwww! What an awesome story Paige! and awesome photos of and awesome lady and her family…and all because you stepped out of what could have been a comfort zone and asked if you could take her photo. Oh the things we miss when we don’t take chances and follow the heart God put in us.

Thank you for sharing.
♥Lee Ann

August 4, 2013 - 12:59 am

sherrie cavarretta - Thanks for sharing and taking those pics, thar is my sons great aunts and his great grandmother, mimi, they all look beautiful, and my son looked at the puc and said thats my mimi, I love.her, it sweet, it made me cry, I havnt seen her in awhile, she’s beautiful, thanks again for sharing. .

August 4, 2013 - 8:23 am

Bev - That is a beautiful story. You captured there beauty !!!! Sipping margarita and all : )
Sometimes you just have to do when your heart tells you, you made the right decision to go over to there table !

August 4, 2013 - 7:34 pm

Andrea - Oh this is the best post! It’s heart-warming and easy to see the joy of life and love in their eyes….and in yours. The fact that you were brave enough to approach them is admirable (not sure I could have! You have a gift for making people feel at ease. So beautiful!

August 4, 2013 - 10:05 pm

Heather - Love love love this story! Think what you’d have missed out on if you’d have been shy!! I love that you shared your talent w/ these lovely ladies and in turn you were blessed!! What is the story behind their dresses?

August 5, 2013 - 8:06 am

Jeannie Ivey - Paige, YOU R TRULY PRECIOUS!!! Way to follow your passion to know people not just see! Thank you for sharing your life, work and mostly beautiful Godly life with us all! your FRIEND Jeannie aka queeniejeannie

August 5, 2013 - 12:24 pm

Charlotte - So thankful that you are a risk taker! We all benefit by reading this precious story!

August 5, 2013 - 12:34 pm

Susan W - Made my heart smile! Lovely and sweet all rolled into one!

August 5, 2013 - 11:10 pm

Tenaya - Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story and pics!

August 6, 2013 - 8:41 am

Jeff Brown - That’s my aunts and my fabulous grandma. Your story touched my heart.
She helped my mom raise me as my parent divorced when I was very young.
My grandmother is an amazing cook by the way… My late grandpa was my idol and I played baseball but my grandma was the centerpiece,
the constant as he often traveled. My aunts, my uncle and my mom are all good people. They are like my grandparents. As a family we are scattered all over America but close in the heart. Grandma always gave big wet kisses! Love her.

August 6, 2013 - 3:53 pm

jennifer - GORGEOUS!

Know what I love more. The fact that you pure, sweet southern charm just walked right up and got this amazing love story and pictures!
I adore that!

August 6, 2013 - 6:31 pm

Katherine Goodwins - Absolutely amazing story – thank you for sharing. I have only just discovered your blog and you wowed me right away with that post – I laughed and cried, then told everyone about it! x

August 7, 2013 - 4:45 am

Donna Bridges - Beautiful story and beautiful ladies. Thank you for sharing their story.

August 7, 2013 - 6:14 pm

lee manonian - How wonderful!!!! So glad you captured this cute photo for the rest of us to
see and share.

August 8, 2013 - 11:22 pm

Katie Tso - This was an awesome blog and featured one of my favorite all-time woman ever. Diana Salvatore, you are forever in my heart. Blessed.

August 10, 2013 - 4:41 am

Weekly Meanderings - […] Miss Lorayne and Phil — a good story. […]

August 10, 2013 - 10:48 am

happy handmade savvy saturday! | the handmade home - […] Paige at Simple Thoughts Captured this gorgeously unexpected moment (beauty and laughter at 96) – you’ll love this story. Things like this just really make me smile. […]

August 11, 2013 - 6:18 am

Nancy Davis - Such a beautiful story. I love stories that are so real and impromptu. Real love, real life together this post was simply amazing. I was hanging on every word. I am a new follower and believe me I will be back! Thank you for my day’s inspiration.

August 11, 2013 - 12:28 pm

sherri - I love this. Thank you so much for sharing. -Sherri

August 18, 2013 - 5:47 pm

Rhonda - Love this story and photos.

June 6, 2014 - 7:54 pm

Avery - Haha that’s my grandma and my great grandma how sweet my aunt just sent me the link for this☺️

October 4, 2015 - 12:40 pm

Ann Eileen Pouk - I became a Phil Cavarretta fan in 1946 and he was always my favorite Chicago Cub player. He and Lorayne were TRUE LOVE!

Ann Pouk
South Bend, IN (formerly from Illinois)

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