Tuesday, September 26, 2006

go granny go!

my gram was born in 1910. that's right, folks. 1-9-1-0. that means that she has lived through wwI, the roaring twenties, the great depression, wwII, the fifties, the korean war, jfk, the vietnam war, watergate, the eighties, reaganomics, gen-x, and the new millennium. living that long-- in and of itself-- is remarkable, isn't it?

gram married at the spinsterish (at the time) age of 30, and didn't have her first child-- my uncle-- until age 32. that was practically a granny age in 1942! but hey, in my opinion she was too busy having fun to settle down before then. the picture at the right is her with my grandpa in early years. anyhow, she was a highly successful working woman back in the days when most women stayed in the home. "executive assistant" would be the name given to her position today, and she worked in the michigan state capital building in lansing. my grandpa was home for the kids at lunch time and after school.

today she lives on her own at age 96, a few miles away from my folks. she enjoys crossword puzzles, gin and tonic, good food, and staying up late. about 2 years ago, after remarkably recovering from a fractured hip (not many recover, btw) she lost her driving priveledges due to macular degeneration in her eyes. gram refused to surrender her actual license, claiming it was her only valid photo id, and occasionally drove illegally, if only to the nearby grocery store.

amazingly enough, after some treatments for her macular degeneration, her eyesight was within legal driving limits again. last week she had the opportunity to retake her driving test and have driving priveledges reinstated. she had studied, practiced, and set her jaw to be able to drive again legally. the test took place in a very busy part of downtown muskegon, one in which even i might be nervous being tested for my driving. lo and behold, gram passed the driving test, and is now allowed to drive during daylight hours within 10 miles of her home.

now isn't that a success story? i can hardly believe her grit.

p.s. mom, if i've made any mistakes in the retelling, please feel free to correct me in the comments section. love!

gram with s about 4 years ago


J said...

Go Grams, GO! I love having grandmas. They rock. My Grandma will be 90 in two days, and my other one is relatively young at 83 (that means she was 43 when I was born...and I'm not her first grandchild) :)

Congrats on the license! That's a true blessing, to have some freedom like that.

Lotus Reads said...

Melissa, your grandmom sounds like one amazing lady! I love talking to folks who have lived through so much - they're always so interesting and we have so much to learn from them. Knowing you, I am sure you have looooong conversations with her when you get to meet her,also, how cool for H. and S. to know their great-grandmother...not too many kids get to do that, I didn't know any of my great-grandparents they had passed away long before I was born.

Wonderful post, thank you!

hellomelissa said...

j: my kids have 3 living great grands! both of t's maternal grandparents are still living. lucky kids! gram and i are lots alike-- salty and realistic.

lotus: i've tried notebooks, videotapes, audiotapes, memory books, EVERYTHING! you name it, but there's no gettin' gram to talk about the past and it KILLS me. she only wants to discuss the here and now, which is probably what keeps her going. i'd give a million for her memories, but all i have are photos. better than nothing, eh?

Susan in Italy said...

Your grandma sounds like such an independant lady! A working woman all her live and she still drives at 96. Sounds like you've got some good genes.

maryfran said...

Actually, Gram can drive 20 miles from home and that takes her to Ludington!

She was on the hospital board for about 20 years and also met JFK and was invited to Harry Truman's inaugeration in D.C.

Grandpa (my dad) worked in town and walked to work. He was home at dinnertine. We always had a "girl" there to take care of us.