Today is my great-grandmother’s 100th birthday. That’s her in the middle – Hazel (or Grandma Pete as she is known to family). When I think about all the things she has seen in her time here, I almost get overwhelmed, but it doesn’t seem to be a big deal to her. I guess after 100 years, very little will surprise you. She still lives in the same town she was born in and lives in the house she and her husband built in the 1930′s. He died in 1970, which was six years before I was born, so I never had a chance to meet him. She has raised six children and has more grandchildren and great-grandchildren than I can even count. She keeps track of us all, though, which is more than I can say for myself.
In case you’re curious, she has this advice for younger generations, “Eat healthy foods, and don’t be afraid to work. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.” Those are words she has lived by, too. She always has a vegetable garden in the backyard and makes a mean rhubarb pie. That’s healthy, right? I don’t know if she’s ever been to McDonalds. As for the hard work, she was the first employee at an electrical supply factory in town and worked there for 27 years. She’s never had a drivers license, though. That was one I never have understood – especially if you have ever been to Edinboro, Pennsylvania. She’s visited Japan and Korea and many states in the US, but has never had the desire to live anywhere but the town where she was born.
She likes to crochet, embroider, and sew and enjoys watching Lawrence Welk reruns on PBS. She also does the crossword puzzle in the newspaper every day. She used to go to the local senior center to play cards (canasta?), but had to take a break when she got frustrated with “the old people who cheat.”
I hope that on this birthday Grandma realizes how many people out there love and care about her. Happy birthday, Grandma!