A Century Gets Me Every Time


My grandmother would have been 100 this past weekend. That’s her, second from the left above. The one with her eyes closed. Clutching a doll. She was the fourth of five children. A good-looking group, if you ask me.

While she didn’t make it to 100, she did live 94 very full years. And when I think about all she lived to see, I’m sheerly amazed: Prohibition. The Great Depression. World War I. World War II. Space. Vietnam. Korea. Computers. The 80s. September 11th. The list goes on and on.

She was a teacher and a dancer. And a crazy intelligent woman. She swam and walked daily into her 90s. She did crossword puzzles, loved the Pittsburgh Penguins and played a mean game of Boggle.

Her birthday got me thinking about what life must have been like back when she was born, so I did a little digging. According to TheCostofLiving.com, a home cost about $6,000. A car, about $500. And the early calculator, known as an adding machine, debuted at about $125. I imagine the pace of life must have been so much different. People didn’t travel the way we did. Obviously they didn’t need to check in on Instagram or Twitter or anything. They didn’t have all the stuff we have today. They didn’t eat all the processed crap we eat today. It all sounds so simple. Like a place I’d like to vacation to.

What else happened in 1914? The Boston “Braves” won the World Series. The first scheduled airline flight lifts off. The first successful blood transfusion took place. They danced the foxtrot on a NYC rooftop. These things are so ordinary today. I can’t help wonder what “firsts” from our lives our future generations will look back on as just “everyday life.”

Nana would be 100 now and I know she would be as bullheaded as ever. I hope to live as full a life as she did and to enjoy Oreos and swimming and hockey until I’m a ripe old age too.

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