Poplarville native Trina Schelton was happily married to singer Troy Shondell for more than 20 years when her husband developed Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Suddenly, she found herself in the role of caregiver for seven years.
“When you’re a caregiver, you devote all of your time to helping someone with no expectations,” said Shelton, who now lives in Picayune. “It becomes your life.”
When Shondell died in January, Schelton said she went into a depression and didn’t know what to do with herself.
“I just felt so lost because I had been taking care of Troy for seven years and then he passed away and I didn’t want to do anything anymore,” she said. “It was like half of me had passed away, too, I felt like I had lost my identity.”
Fortunately, Schelton’s daughters intervened and she said they helped pull her out of her depression.
“I started working out and I got myself and I took a role in a play in Picayune,” Schelton said. “I met the directors of the Senior Ms. Mississippi pageant.”
She said that although she was initially reluctant about entering the pageant, she filled out the application. And in the Picayune-based pageant, she was named Ms. Mississippi Senior America.
“My daughters told me I didn’t have a choice, and they kind of forced me into it — and I’m so glad they did,” Schelton said.
On Oct. 15, Schelton will be heading to Atlantic City to compete for the national title.
“I’m so excited to be a part of this,” she said. ‘The Miss America pageant has a long history with Atlantic City, and I always wanted to be a part of this. “I just can’t believe it’s happening to me in my golden years.”
Schelton will be performing Connie Francis’ “Where the Boys Are” in the talent portion of Ms. Senior America, which is scheduled for Oct. 18-20.
“I’m going to wear a vintage poodle skirt that was worn by my granddaughter in a production of ‘Grease,’ ” she said.
But before her trip to New Jersey, she will be making a special appearance during Cruisin’ The Coast.
“I’ll be singing with Vince Vance and the Valiants on Friday at Edgewater Mall,” Schelton said. “I’m going to sing ‘Where the Boys Are.’”
The show is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.