Today, my grandmother is ninety-three years old.
That is nearly triple the number of years I have lived. It amazes me to think of the things she has seen and done and experienced in her lifetime. She is fortunate in that, at her age, she is healthy and still able to recall the details of all those years gone by.
That is her (far left) with all of her sisters.
May 6, 1939 – more than 72 years ago, she married my grandfather
This picture astounds me. My grandmother is wearing lipstick…and a smile! This was taken pre-1953, but I don’t know the exact year. I only know it was before then because my father had yet to make an appearance. My grandparents are easy enough to determine. The children are, from left to right, my Aunt Kate, Aunt Karen, Uncle Ralph, and Aunt Judy.
That’s my grandma with her two boys. Yep, that’s my dad (the younger one), making that godawful face. He still does that.
My grandparents and my dad. Sitting on a rock. Go figure. I can’t help but wonder what my grandparents find so fascinating that my dad isn’t looking at. And who took the photo?
Out at the old farm. This is the first picture, chronologically, where she looks like my grandma.
This is one of my all-time favorite family photos. It is my dad’s entire family. That’s my dad on the far left. On the far right is his brother, my Uncle Ralph. Supposedly, and I’ve had several people who are IN the photo swear to this, this was taken at my Uncle Ralph’s wedding. Yes, that 14-year-old looking boy, just got married. Yikes.
This picture cracks me up in a number of ways. First, I would totally pull my car over to take a picture of a sign like that. I’ve actually done it! I had no idea that was an inherited trait. Second, my grandfather looks exactly how he looked my entire life. How can one person never change? He was always smiling, always wore the glasses case in his shirt pocket, always dressed like that…it’s unbelievable. Finally, my grandma, standing with her arm slung around Grandpa’s shoulder, just looks so casual, relaxed and completely unlike her.
This is one of my favorites of her. Sitting in front of a tractor and behind a bed of tulips. The contradictions are what make it beautiful.
My dad graduating high school. Clearly, his mother is thrilled.
Really, what else needs to be said about this?
That’s my brother, Nick, in the high chair. I’m guessing it isn’t his birthday, just by the sheer number of candles on the cake. And finally, there is the ash tray with burning cigarette and the soft pack, just outside the baby’s reach. Clearly, this is another era.
This is a terrific photo. I’ve added the names to make life easier. A couple I wasn’t sure about. The blond curls behind Lizzie are most likely Beth, can’t even think who else it would be. The tiny toddler on Grandpa’s knee, next to me, is more of a mystery. Judging by my size, it is possible it is a one-year-old Zack. However, it is more likely that it is Justin, since he’d be missing otherwise. But this is my grandparents with their grandchildren at Christmas. We used to have every Christmas day at their house. I miss those times, with the fun and the chaos and spending time with my older, cooler, cousins. It is funny that several more are yet to be born. Notably, my sister Emily, possibly my brother Zack, my cousins Ben and Ted. Missing are my cousins Dave and Sara, who would have been born but lived out of state and likely didn’t come up for Christmas that year. That’s a lot of grandkids!
This was May 6, 1989. In honor of their 50th wedding anniversary. There was a huge party, that much I remember. I also think it may have been at the VFW in Lake Elmo. Someone can check me on that. I wore a pink flowered dress. We all dressed up, my brothers in suits and girls in dresses. The whole family turned out and there was food and there was dancing and lots and lots of silliness by the grandkids.
Jumping forward exactly ten years in time:
This was taken (as you can see) on May 6, 1999, the anniversary of their wedding. 60 years. Who is married SIXTY years? Wow. What I like about this is that it was taken out front of their home in Lake Elmo. They lived several places together, but this is the one that I associate with them. If you say “grandparents house” this is the house I think of. I have a ton of wonderful memories from that house, holidays and everydays, with my cousins and my siblings. Countless memories that begin in that house, with these people. My grandfather died a couple years after that, just a month before they would have celebrated 63 years. It is an incredible accomplishment and a testament to strength that they lasted so long together.
This was just three years ago, when Simon was just under a year old.
And this was last Thanksgiving, Ario’s first. We’re very blessed to still have Grandma with us and that we’re still able to make memories after all these years.
Happy 93rd Birthday, Grandma! Enjoy your day and many more to come.