On January 18, my friend Jim lost his mother. Mildred was almost 103. During her lifetime, she actually saw 40% of the history of the United States. She was born 6-years after the first flight of the Wright brothers. In her childhood, people who fought in the Civil War were simply elderly war veterans. As a little girl she saw World War I, The Russian Revolution, the rise of the Soviet Union, then, as she grew older, The Great Depression, World War II, The Cold War, The Korean War, Vietnam, the fall of the Soviet Union, etc. She raised a son, Jim, who, literally is a Rocket Scientist. He is a PHd. and is employed by NASA. Jim and his wife, Sharon, had two children Scott and Tamara. One of the children, Tamara, a Medical Doctor, wrote the following about her Grandmother. The pictures were taken by Scott. I also knew Mildred and will miss her. I hope you find it interesting:
by Tamara Oser on Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 11:07am
As I struggle through the first day without Grandma, I think back at so many lessons she taught me. Below are just a few. She was truly a remarkable woman, and I have been so blessed to have had her in my life for almost 40 years.
1. Dare to live ahead of your time. Even in a time when few women worked, she got a job at a bank. My dad was perhaps one of the first latch key kids, and has so often told me “I was all grown up by the time I was 9.” I may not agree with every aspect of her parenting, but there is no doubt she raised the most amazing son in the world. And, my dad is who he is from days spent unsupervised skipping school and learning from real life.
2. Be happy. Grandma was a perpetual optimist. She had great sadness in her life, but she always found the joy to be had in every day.
3. Don’t let them bury you early. I will never forget when my kids were not even two and we flew down to see her “on her deathbed.” My dad told us she was in the hospital and he feared it was the end. We jumped on a plane, worried we wouldn’t make it in time. Imagine our surprise when we got there only to realize she had not only checked out of the hospital, but also had her hair done and looked better than ever. I’ll never forget walking in and seeing her all made up and pretty, looking healthier than a horse. The only remaining sign of her hospitalization was the hospital bracelet she had not yet had time to remove (probably because she had rushed to get her hair done.)
4. Getting your hair done is a priority! So many times when we visited, grandma had a hair appointment. I remember one time we took her out to watch the sky divers and she told us “you have to take me back now…I have a hair appointment!” We had to rush to make it, and at the time thought it was so odd she had scheduled the appointment during our visit. But, priorities are priorities and the older I get the more I see myself making sure I get my hair done!
5. To hell with what you look like in a bathing suit—go jump in the waves! After college I visited grandma. It was a wonderful trip. We stayed at the beach together in this cute motel. I took her out on a gambling cruise. I’ll never forget her playing the slot machines. She flirted with the lead singer of the band on the boat, and despite being at least 40 years younger than her, he flirted back! But, what I will remember most is Grandma taking off her towel on the beach and running towards the waves. She jumped in and shrilled with joy as she jumped each one.
6. You’re never too old to have a boyfriend. Preston, Bob, Gene, Harold and the list goes on. Rumor has it Grandma had a marriage annulled at 16 to an Italian man. Age never stopped her, and at 101 she was dating a man many years younger than her. I think Grandma put Demi Moore to shame.
7. People with social networks are happier and live longer. I know that’s what the studies show, and grandma was the ultimate example.
8. Drunk Driving does not include tractors on a farm. I remember during one visit looking at videos of grandma with Gene on his farm. Gene, Grandma and a group of friends were out on a tractor ride drinking and having a blast. I saw this video just shortly after college, and it never occurred to me that people THAT OLD still went out and had fun like that!
9. Don’t be afraid of the unexpected journeys. Born in Pennsylvania, living in Michigan, to an old farmhouse in New York, Florida…Grandma embraced each of life’s journeys. None of us know where life will ultimately take us…Grandma taught me there is fun and joy to be had at every station.
10. Be resilient. Perhaps that is the most important lesson. Life will always be full of good and bad times. We are defined by how we handle them. Grandma taught me to grab the bull by the horns and keep fighting. She was a fighter until the end who embraced life to the fullest.
I love you Grandma. You will be forever missed.