Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A BIKE, A BIG RED COAT AND A SONG

Upon driving today, the sighting of a 60-something-woman wearing a huge red coat, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk of busy La Brea Avenue while singing at the top of her lungs...filled me with all kinds of glee.

If I have any say in the matter, that will be Me.

Which brings me to Alice. Alice is my 104 year old grandmother. She met my grandfather on a train around 1920 or so. She noticed him checking her out on the train, so, big saucy flirt that she was (and remained her whole life); she encouraged him with her winsome smile. He took that as an invitation and came over to flirt some more. I think if I had picked up anyone on a train like that, my parents would have shipped me off to an all girl school for troubled youth. I think if I knew ANYONE in this day and age who picked up someone on a train (let’s face it, the internet is safer) I would consider organizing an intervention. Alice has always done things her own way though, and three children, five grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren later (the grandchildren didn’t turn out to be very fertile, so only one gave her any great grandchildren) she is still as in love with him today as she was then. They were married for 65 years prior to his death, and had he lived past 90 they would have been married 79 years this New Years Eve. She has lived on this earth through every major event, invention, catastrophe and war since her birth in 1900. She had a career and a family when it was considered most improper. She topped that off by going back to school during the process. Prior to meeting my grandfather, she was offered a scholarship to attend Emerson College to study drama, but “nice girls didn’t do that back then.” She became a teacher instead and used her dramatic skills to good advantage in that environment. A tiny woman with a piercing blue-eyed gaze that would silence anyone in 5 seconds if they acted up. Her efforts with education resulted in a building being named after her in the school district she taught in. Physically active and an avid reader, she has kept in shape and has a sharper mind than most people less than half her age. Since her eye sight got bad, her avid reading has transitioned to books on tape and hours of CSPAN. She has stayed progressive in thought. She is an advocate of a woman's right to choose, and she believes in civil unions for same sex couples. She attributes her longevity to keeping a positive attitude. And having a beer on Friday night.

Sunday morning when we left after Thanksgiving weekend (during which she had attended The Incredibles and the Ballet), she wished me a safe journey and said she had a horrible headache. Yesterday morning they could not wake her up. She is currently in the hospital, having had a stroke. She stayed unconscious all of yesterday. Her eyes opened today, but that’s it.

I’d like to put out there in the universe that she has lived a very good life, is loved by many and has done great things. I don’t want this stroke to have impaired her mind or abilities, but I know better than to hope for that to be the case. I cannot think of anything worse for a woman like Alice than to have that happen after 104 years of being constantly on top of her game. It’s not okay. And if that’s the case, I want it to be over and for her to finally go join my grandfather.

If you’re reading this, I hope you send good thoughts in that direction. Thanks.

1 Comments:

Blogger R said...

Although she is 104, I know to her family...300 years wouldn't be long enough to spend with her. She sounds incredible. I wish her, and you, peace.

02 December, 2004 16:42  

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