Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nine Decades and Counting

So today is a very special day. Many of you may not be aware of it, but it is…aren’t you so glad that I’m here to let you know? Otherwise it might have passed you by entirely.

Very va-va-va-voom!
Today my maternal grandma (Grandma McLain is what we call her) turns 90.

We’re having a party tomorrow…pictures may follow.

Or they may not…the censor may not approve any for "outside the family" display purposes. You never know just how wild and crazy we may get.

Then again, if you’ve met us…you probably do know.

So expect to see some pictures post-party.

Clearly in 90 years, Grandma has seen and experienced quite a bit; I could scarcely wrap my brain around it…being as how I am only 1/3 of her age. Ok, closer to 4/9.

The “journalist” in me wanted to sit down with her to interview her…spend some time, take notes (yes, I don’t use a recorder…I hand-write it all. I’m old-school like that.)

But “the person who has no time” in me opted to email her instead.

I have to pause to make you take note of that statement: I opted to EMAIL her instead.

That blows my mind a little bit. She emails. And she plays games on her computer.

And she reads my blog.

That makes me laugh most of all, because if you’re not new here, you know this stuff can be a little random and somewhat difficult to follow. Bunny trails sometimes are like that.

And yet…she’s hanging in there, reading them. And has yet to ask just what exactly I am talking about in most of them…which gives me pause and makes me think that perhaps she isn’t reading it.

But if she is, I hope, if anything, it makes her laugh.

I’m all about the laugh, in case you didn’t know.

And I hope she reads today’s post; I kind of encouraged her to without telling her why. But she’s pretty sharp and I assume she figured out the reason.

But back to Grandma. She’s 90 today…in case you hadn’t heard.

So as I said, I asked her quite a few questions via email (via a couple different emails, actually) and she was quite the sport about it all. She answered everything I asked, and as I was contemplating how to summarize her 90 years, even by using her quotes, I knew my words wouldn’t do it justice…so I decided to simply include them here for you, just as she wrote them. Stick with me, as it reads kind of like a transcript, but I think you will enjoy it nonetheless.

What are some of the biggest events you remember from your life? They can be U.S. events, local events, or world events. Whatever has been important to you.
You might ask your mom.  She might have some better things. (Editor’s Note: I opted not to ask my mother, as Grandma had encouraged, because my mom will get her own blog post from me when she turns 90…yes, I’m certain I’ll still be blogging when I’m in my 60’s, thank you very much…by then I’ll be a famous writer but I’ll still have a blog. No worries.)  

McLain Family photo circa 1952 I'm guessing...
Besides the usual marriages, births, grandkids and such – World War 2 and Jim shipping overseas on the very day of our first anniversary. (Editor’s Note: She means her husband, who was also my Grandpa Jim…clearly not my husband, who is also named Jim. Just clearing up any possible confusion there; I doubt there was any but just in case.)     

What do you think are some of the best inventions from the past 90 years?
I don't know if this was invented before 1923 or not, but for me it was inside plumbing!  Ha, I made a funny!  Seriously, I guess it would be Television.  I haven’t decided if the computer and other electronics are more good or more bad.  Refrigerators, dishwashers, sweepers and such.  A lot of these things might have been invented before 1923 but we were poor and didn’t have them for a while.

What is the most exciting thing you have ever done?
Besides the usual marriages births, grandkids (Editor’s Note: She might have felt a little obligated to say that part about the grandkids), etc., I guess it would be building our first home and the trip to Europe.    

I'm not saying I'm the favorite grandchild...but this is the picture I just happened to have on hand. :)
Can you tell me more about your trip to Europe?
We traveled to Europe in the '70s with Ed & Anita Watters.   We covered a lot of territory in 11 days so it is hard to remember a lot, like what, when and where.  We were delayed in New York for 5 hrs so we flew at night, over the water.  Because of that, we didn't to get to see much of London.  We had a short tour the next morning, saw Big Ben palace (no guards), Harrod’s Department Store and much else.  I do remember, they brought very hard rolls to our room for breakfast!  

Paris: went to the Louvre, saw the Eiffel tower from a short distance, the Champs Elysees & the Notre Dame Cathedral.  Went to the famous Night Club...I can't remember the name…only the fact that they had topless dancers, of course.  After all, it's Paris! 

Italy: Traffic was horrific and streets were trashy.  Also graffiti.  Saw the Coliseum, threw a coin in Trevi Fountain; I think I wished for a safe trip home, over the water, in broad daylight!  Took a gondola ride-trip OK; singer not so good!  

I guess we didn't go to Germany because I can't think of a darn thing we saw there.  We did have a dinner in some country where they served us limburger cheese with dessert!  I guess I should have said Switzerland.  I think it was Lucerne and our hotel faced a lake.  I bought a cuckoo clock and two little ones for the girls.  I know I've left out a lot of stuff and mixed up some, but maybe you can use some of it.  For sure I know we had very hard rolls some place, French onion soup some place, limburger cheese some place, delicious fish some place, and all the wine you desired some place. 

What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
I could have lots of those! Here's one: Drove to New Castle on State Road 38…down the hill to State Road 3 with a ham sitting on the hood of the car.  It was December and I put it out in the garage to keep it cold overnight because I didn't have room in the fridge.  When I stopped, it slid off into the intersection.  Fastest retrieval ever!  No cars coming--thank goodness!  Ham OK.  Pan bad.   Nobody could believe I could drive three miles, over hill & dale and not see that ham right in front of my eyes.  I don't think anyone wanted to ride with me after that! (Editor’s Note: This is actually one of our all-time favorite Grandma stories…I’m so glad to have captured it in her own words.)

Were you born in Cadiz? At home or in a hospital?
I was born in Henry County at home, I think.  

She's the baby in this picture :)
What job did you dad have?
When I was four, we lived in Cadiz and my dad worked on the railroad.  After that, he was a farmer, and the last few years he was a desk clerk at a hotel in Anderson.  

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First off, as to what I wanted to be when I was growing up…don't laugh…a writer and later an artist. Ha! Can't do either at all!  I remember sitting at the dining room table and trying to copy the funnies: Popeye and Olive Oyl!

What jobs did you have?  I remember you saying you saved your money from work to buy a watch...did you babysit to earn that money or was it something else?
I bought my first watch for $12.95 out of the Montgomery Ward catalog. I worked for my aunt and uncle when they owned the grocery store in Cadiz.  I babysat their son, Jerry Harry, and did the weekly cleaning.  With pay scale at that time, it took a lot of time to save enough to get it.  I worked in the office at Guide Lamp during the war & the office at Diamond Containers for many years after that.    

Another va-va-va-voom picture, but she's wearing the watch she bought from Montgomery Ward.
You met grandpa at school...was he in the class behind you? How long did you date before you got married?
Your Grandpa & I went all through Cadiz School together.  He was a class behind me. We dated about three or four years before we were married.  
(Editor’s Note: Though this is my mom’s mom we’re talking about here, my dad had a couple stories about his favorite MIL which he wanted to make sure were included in this post. The first one was about the ham. This is the other one, as he tells it: When Jim and Lois were dating, they had a flat tire one night out on a dark country road.  The only light available was from the moon.  Jim was changing the tire, and Lois was watching.  All of a sudden, she kicked what she thought were June Bugs away from the tire into the drainage ditch.  Those “June Bugs” were actually the lug nuts from the wheel....)

Of course I had to include her class picture...she's the Vice President!
I know this seems like such a little amount to have captured about 90 years of someone’s life. Though she doesn’t know it, I am planning to record a video of her answering some of these questions, and probably some other ones as well. Well, I should say she DIDN'T know it...but if she reads this post she will!

I hope you’ve enjoyed her trip down memory lane as much as I have. To know her is to love her. And I do. Happy Birthday, Grandma! I love you!

And now, I’ll close with some additional comments she made to me in my second email…which didn’t fit with a question, but made me giggle out loud, so of course I had to share:

Boy, if you keep on (with the questions), you are going to owe me big time!  
The end.  Amen and Good Luck.    

Your Ancient Loving Grandma (again) xoxo

P.S. This contraption underlines in red all the mistakes I make and sometimes they're not right.  So there! 

1 comment:

  1. What a fun grandma you have! And she emails. Awesome. I love the photos!