When you marry, you get a whole new family, like it or not. Some members of my husband’s family and I don’t see eye to eye on political issues, but they are welcome in our home nonetheless. I don’t see eye to eye on some issues with my own family, so why should that stop anyone from visiting?
But in his family is one of the most amazing people I have ever known, his 96 year old grandmother Georgia. Lots of people had the privilege of growing up with grandparents, but I really didn’t. Mine died early on, so having Grandma in my life has been a real blessing.
Let’s get this in historical perspective, if you will allow me a moment to geek out. When Grandma was born, Calvin Coolidge was President. Calvin Coolidge people! It was the Roaring Twenties, more people started living in cities than at any other time and the Harlem Renaissance was at its height. Here in Oklahoma, a tall and strong young woman was growing up in a small town, and was the apple of her father’s eye. She’s told me about times in high school when they would have a weenie roast in someone’s field for their weekend activities. All the kids came because it was a small farm community school. When they had more money, they would load up in cars and drive to Chickasha and spend 30 cents for a movie, a burger and a coke. What can 30 cents get you today?
Now think about all that has happened in her lifetime — the Great Depression, three more major wars, the invention of so many things not the least of which is the internet, the Civil Rights movement, women’s rights, the Cold War. . . it’s dizzying to think of all she’s seen. She is the living embodiment of the American Century.
I know others who, like her, grew up without much money in a segregated world where women kept to their place, and it has made them jaded, even fearful of the world today. Not Georgia. She is rarely cross, enjoys spending time with her large family, and speaks highly of people who are different from her or who have made life choices she wouldn’t make.
Anytime we get to spend with her is a gift. I am so grateful to be in her life, to learn from her, and relive her past with her. The greatest generation indeed.