It was the 100th day of school for Gracelynn Shanley, age 6, and she was ready for it. She was dressed up as her Nana, as she would be at age 100.
While Gracelynn goes to first grade in San Tan Valley, Arizona, her Nana lives in Moriarty, and both sides of her family has deep roots in the Estancia Valley.
Her Nana is Domitilia “Domie” Barela, formerly of Estancia, where she lived next door to her son Ted Barela, his wife Janice, and their children, including Gracelynn’s Mom, Alyssa Barela Shanley. Longtime readers of The Independent’s sports pages might remember her name, which used to feature frequently in the newspaper due to her athletics in high school.
The whole family has something going: Gracelynn’s grandpa Ted Barela was the mayor of Estancia and a state senator and her grandma Janice Barela was Torrance County Treasurer and is currently county manager. The Shanleys also have deep roots in the Stanley area.
Back to our story: In preparation for playing the character of her Nana at 100, Gracelynn slept on curlers so that her very long hair could be made to look short and curly, like Nana’s. She had wrinkles drawn on her face, old-fashioned glasses, and a walking cane. Her mom said Gracelynn really got into character and enjoyed herself.
Gracelynn said walked into the classroom like an old woman, and said she shook her stick at some kids on the playground and had fun.
Asked what she thought her Nana would be like when she was 100 years old, Gracelynn said, “I think she will look pretty short and I think she will make really good tortillas.” She said she has made tortillas with her Nana, and tamales.
She said her Nana “likes to talk a lot and she likes to see family,” Gracelynn said. “She cuddles.”
The first grader said she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, clarifying that she wants to be a “vet doctor” and take care of dogs, cats and horses, her favorite animal.
Of her great-grandmother, Domie Barela, Gracelynn said, “She doesn’t have a mean face” and that she thinks her Nana will be proud of her.