Tuesday, August 16, 2016

About My Grandma

Ages ago, I did an "about me" post where I mentioned my Grandma.  Since it was awhile ago, you may not remember this photo.

That is my Grandma about 5-10 years ago (maybe).  She decided one day that she needed to take a badass photo, and borrowed her son's leather jacket and motorcycle so that she could pose accordingly in front of her house.  She's since sold the house, as she didn't need all that space all on her lonesome, but it still makes for a great photo.

More recently, maybe 3 or so years ago, I unexpectedly received a Christmas card in the mail that caught me off guard.

I guess my Grandma had some trouble with the law?  Hahaha.  In reality, she took advantage of a social connection and a great photo opportunity, and then maximized it by sending a copy to everyone at Christmas time.  Gotta love it.

One of my favorite stories about my Grandma, though, has to do with an automatic rifle and a hearing check.  The story goes that a few years ago on the 4th of July, she was on some private farm property where someone had shown up with an AK47 or equivalent automatic gun, and said person was trying to get some of the teenaged boys present to fire the gun.  The boys, all fearing the resulting kick of firing, nervously declined the opportunity.  My Grandma, not even missing a beat, smirked at the boys then stepped up and said "Well, somebody needs to shoot it.  I'm 97 years old, what have I got to lose?" - AND ACTUALLY FIRED THE GUN! 

So a few weeks later, after firing the gun, my Grandma goes in for her first hearing aid fitting.  The doctor goes through his run of the mill questions about health history, environmental factors, etc. - looking for any kind of triggers that may contribute to hearing loss.  One of his standard questions was something to the effect of "have you had any exposure to loud noises" or something like that.  Wanting to be honest, my Grandma said "Well, not really.  Except for the other weekend when I was shooting off that Russian machine gun. I guess that was kind of loud."

I'm sure you can about imagine the doctor's response to hearing that from a 97 year old woman!


Generally speaking, my Grandma has had a very interesting life.  She grew up in what I call "the real frontier" - her parents moved from Pittsburg to the wild west of Montana and homesteaded in the late 1800's, where she was eventually born in the early 1900's.  I have a digital copy of an audio CD she recorded a few years ago where she talks about her life and the progression she saw from living in essentially a "Little House on the Prairie" style cabin without electricity or pluming to the modern home you see above.  Her life is a fascinating story that takes you from a time when Native Americans still lived a nomadic lifestyle, through the Great Depression and the World Wars, and sees you up to raising a family in St. Paul during the 60s and 70s. 

Ok - pause here.  I know this is getting to be a lot of info.  But hang with me, I'm telling you all this information today for two reasons.

First of all, I'm telling you because at some point I may write a "non detailed" recap of what happened during my birthing process (or I may not, I haven't decided - the only reason I'm thinking I might is that so many people tell horror stories about their deliveries, and I want people to know that there are plenty of good stories during child birth too).  Anyway, in order for a line in my birthing story to make sense, you need to know the following: being that my Grandma lived in the "real frontier", and doctor access was limited, she would occasionally attend home births with her mother who was the equivalent of a home trained midwife that helped many local farm women during delivery.  As a result, my Grandma had a saying she would quote from time to time, thanks to her mother:

"God ought to have designed both men and women to give birth, then made it so men had to have the first child and women the second.  That way, when it came time to have a third, that would be the end of it.  Every family would only have two children."

Second of all, I'm telling you this story because just a week or two ago, my Grandma went out for tea with some family and they snapped this photo.

Yes, that is a tiara.  Knowing what you do about me, I have to pose the question: it possible that fashion sense is also genetic?

Anyway - the round about point to this post is: if some day I make it to 99 years old, I hope I can maintain my sense of fashion and humor just like her. 


  1. Your grandmother sounds like an amazingly inspirational, strong, fierce, and bad-ass woman!!! What a great role model she is! I love all those awesome pictures of her!!!

    1. Thanks! It took a little family coordination to get the collection of photos - but totally worth it!