My grandmother turns 98 years old today.
98 freakin‘ years old.
She was alive for WWI. How crazy is that?
One of my grandmother’s favorite stories was about where she was when she found out President Kennedy had been shot. She was on an escalator (although I am not sure where), and was so stunned that she forgot to step off and got her heel caught.
My grandparents retired fairly young, and moved from New Jersey to Virginia. They had an active retirement filled with much traveling, golf (my grandfather) and tennis (my grandmother). I spent two weeks with them every summer and remember how grown up I felt being allowed to hang out at the pool at the country club while they played their respective sports. Even better was getting dressed up to go to dinner at “the club”.
We celebrated her 85th birthday at the country club, but by then she had all but given up tennis. They were still members, but mostly it was just a place for them to be social and visit with friends rather than be physically active.
I would like to say that my grandmother has her wits about her, but the truth is, she does not. She would not know me if I walked in today – in fact, she might ask one of her nurses who the new girl is. She is comfortable and cared for. She gets her hair done and her nails done. Hopefully, in some part of her brain, she has memories of her travels, her cocktail parties, and her friends and family.
Happy birthday, Gram!
Soon I will be an old, white-haired lady, into whose lap someone places a baby, saying, “Smile, Grandma!” – I, who myself so recently was photographed on my grandmother’s lap. ~Liv Ullmann