100 Years and 23 Days

My grandmother passed away today – only 23 days after her 100th birthday.  It’s difficult for me to imagine all the changes she saw and experienced in her 100 years while what I experienced with her was so different.  When her life started in 1914, WWI began, Babe Ruth signed his first minor league contract, and Tarzan of the Apes was published.  She saw the Nazi party form, women win the right to vote, and Al Capone move to Chicago when she was a kid.  As a teen, she learned how to cope with The Great Depression while playing steel guitar with her sister.  She married my grandpa in 1938, and in 1942 when WWII started for the United States, she waited to receive post cards from her new husband while he served in the army.  A year after Germany surrendered and the war ended, my mom was born and they lived on the family farm where my grandparents raised crops and a few farm animals.  Five years later, my grandma had my aunt, completing their little family of four, all while Grandma performed different jobs driving a school bus, cleaning the local elementary, and running K’s Cafe.  She saw Model T’s transform into Teslas; stamps soar from two cents to forty-two; and crank phones morph into smart phones.  She and my grandpa celebrated 51 years of marriage while he was in the hospital dying from emphysema in 1990 because earlier in their lifetime smoking was healthy.  I didn’t realize when she told me about the “blue moon” shining outside, she had watched the first man land on the moon.  She lived through the space war, the Cold War, The Korean War, the Gulf War, 9/11, and the War on Terrorism, and still had time to teach me how to embroider french knots and make sweet potatoes with marshmallows.   She was an amazing cook, patient listener, and incredible grandma, and I celebrate the life she had as she now dances in the glory of her Savior.  I asked her on her 100th birthday how she lived a life that long, and she said, “I just roll with whatever comes my way.”  May I learn from her example of life and love.

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