Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The last 100 years

Grandma's Birthday Cake
Well, life has been crazy. Children behaving badly and we will leave it at that for now. Things have settled down for the moment, so I am back in blog-land.

Aunt Barbara and Grandma during the reading of the proclamation of
Dorothy Martin Day in Plantation, Florida
The big event of the past week is that I got to go to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to celebrate my Grandma Dorothy's 100th birthday. It was a wonderful time reconnecting with family I haven't seen in 25 years and some whose names I have heard my whole life but never met before. At 100 years old grandma is doing pretty good.  She lives in a nursing home but is not able to get around on her own. She looked pretty in a white suit with a beautiful orchid corsage. For more than two hours she reveled in the love and adoration of more than 50 people. Those in attendance included two of her children, step-children, three granddaughters and one of her great grandchildren (my Hunter). There were many friends and neighbors that also came to honor her. Many of us traveled from out of state. It was a great time for her and she thoroughly enjoyed herself.

When you have lived for 100 years you will get a note from the President of the United States and the first lady. That was a joy for grandma. The envelope got water on it and causing the ink to smudge, which only proved that the envelope was hand addressed in the most perfect calligraphy. In this day and age one would assume it was done on a computer, it was that perfect, but it was not. That makes it all the more special.

Me and dad, Jim McKenna
I have been thinking about all of the changes grandma has seen in her 100 years walking this earth. I googled it, of course. All of the famous people born the same year are no longer living, but included Richard Nixon, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Gerald Ford, Rosa Parks, Jimmy Hoffa, and Vince Lombardi. An interesting list. That was the year the Ford Company introduced the assembly line, the US government imposed the Income Tax, it was the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the first crossword puzzle was published and Camel introduced the first packaged cigarettes. Just think about the things that have changed since then. Two world wars, super high definition flat screen televisions in every nook and cranny of society, cell phones with internet access, the internet, commercial air travel just to name a few. I also ponder the things that have not really changed that much. The stuff we use has changed, but the character of people has not really changed.

The girl cousins, Betty, Melissa, Mykie, Holly, Shebby
with Grandma. (She wanted to wear the hat)
Grandma has touched a lot of lives in her time here. I realized by spending time with my two girl cousins how different all three of our relationships are with her. She has shared a part of herself with each and every person in a different way. Mykie is her oldest grandchild and is about 12 years older than me. She grew up in Ohio, the daughter of the oldest daughter, my aunt Dawn. I am the youngest grandchild of grandma's youngest child. Holly is the middle child of the middle child, my aunt Barbara. Isn't that interesting? (There are also 5 grandsons that were not present.) As the oldest Mykie had a special connection with grandma, she even wanted to live with grandma when she was a teenager. I think she shared poems with Holly. I learned practical things from grandma, how to layer garbage bags to make it easier at trash time, to put a lid face up so germs don't get inside, and the use of homeopathic remedies instead of running to the doctor for every ailment, to name a few. Grandma also taught me to keep a Prayer Journal. I have not done such a good job the past few years of keeping it up, but am motivated to do so again. It is a great way to keep a record of who you have prayed for and when the prayers are answered.
Hunter collecting shells at John Lloyd Park beach
Hunter visits with Aunt Sharon and cousin Robby
Before leaving Sunday we were able to make a quick trip to the beach to collect some shells. We also got to visit with my sister in law and nephew for a short time before leaving. We just didn't have enough time.

How old is the oldest person you know and how have you been influenced by them? 


  1. Love it! Grandma Dorothy sounds amazing. WHat an incredible life to have lead. BTW.... Did her birthday make the shout-out news with Willard Scott? I think it is NBC.

  2. How fabulous!! My brother-in-law's grandmother (Ma-mere) turned 100 last month!! She's a fabulous woman and not a little saucy!! Glad to see you back in blogland!! :)