My 90-Year Old Grandmother

The end of April my maternal grandmother turned 90.  Ninety! That’s a little over twice as long as I have been alive.  Although she has been around the sun 90 times you wouldn’t know it by looking at her.  She has the usual gray/white hair and the wrinkled skin you would expect. Yet she volunteers at her local nursing home twice a week.  She still drives, gets her own groceries and lives on her own.

I can tell you she is an inspiration.  At 43 I am trying to imagine living to her age.  I hope I do if I am as independent and healthy as she is.  Did I mention she is not on prescription drugs of any kind?  Not one. That is unheard of these days.  People in their 30s, 40s, 50s and on are taking a plethora of drugs.

Born in 1929, the year the stock market crashed, she lived through and remembers the Great Depression.  When I think of how the world has changed since she was born, it blows my mind. She grew up in rural southern Indiana.  As a child her family did not have indoor plumbing, no running water. Her father built a spring-house from which she retrieved the water for the household in a large bucket.

Her childhood was a simple one.  The family grew their own food, raised their meat and traded eggs for staples such as sugar and flour.  Her mother and father were affectionate. Hugs were a big part of their lives, with very little arguments.

She was twelve years old when it came on the radio that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor.  Can you imagine hearing that via the radio? Especially for our ever connected world of today where we get our news from Facebook & Twitter feeds.  She says it is a day she will never forget.

Overnight the country changed, as she tells the story.  Neighbor boys were sent off to fight. Factories were converted quickly to build bombs and support the war.  I realize every time she tells stories of her childhood and young adulthood that this generation of incredible folks will all soon be gone.

With that we will lose a host of wisdom that only comes with years and years of experience.  I know I have more wisdom now in my forties than I did in my twenties and the same will hold true when I reach my 70s and beyond.

She does not own a cell phone or a computer nor does she want one. Some may say why not they make your life easier.  But maybe, just maybe she is the smart one.

Sometimes in our lives, as we take a moment to reflect, we realize just how lucky we are. For me having a close relationship with my grandmother throughout my life has shaped me in ways I can’t even fathom.

My love of nature, reading, and the simple life I attribute to her.  My grandparents lived a frugal life and because of that she can live on their savings.  Her husband, my grandfather passed away 11 years ago.

In a world where many will never make it to this milestone birthday, I am grateful I still have this person in my life.  I will treasure her and the moments I have with her as I always have.

This is one area of my life I do not take for granted.  Never knowing how many years any of us have. Who knows, she may outlive us all.