Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

August 7, 2013

Grandma

I went to a special birthday party over the weekend.

My grandmother, Eva Reader, turned 103.

It was an interesting party. After all, I’ve never met, yet alone known, a 103-year-old before.

Too often, people my grandmother’s age are not as mentally sharp as they once were, even though their bodies have managed to hang on.

Not so with Grandma.

Grandma is sharp.

She loves to recite poetry, reads constantly and hasn’t voted for a Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. (She didn’t like the New Deal, but thought it was high time to get rid of Prohibition.)

She is also the oldest resident at the Knox County Nursing Home.

Whenever I visit her, I’m struck by the fact that most of her fellow residents are a full generation younger. Before she was admitted to the home, I never considered nursing home to be multigenerational spots. Now I know.

She was born into a nation much different from today’s America:

The American flag had 46 stars — New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska hadn’t been admitted to the Union yet.

Like 95 percent of the babies born in 1910, she was delivered at home.

The average life expectancy in the United States was 47.

There were only 8,000 cars in the United States and only 144 miles of paved roads.

Only 14 percent of the homes in the United States had a bathtub.

That final point was brought home for me when I helped my grandmother clean out her basement a few years ago and came across a small galvanized wash tub.

Grandma explained that she heated the tub filled with water atop a wood stove to bathe my newborn father. Dad turns 82 this year.

She learned to cook on a woodstove, and was still cooking on one well into middle age.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Pensions need to be addressed I will have to admit that I am slightly overwhelmed today with the receipt of articles and suggestions for a column. One of my Fitness Mafia colleagues constantly tells me the columns are too long and trying to address different subjects just dilutes

    July 22, 2014

  • VA still failing our vets Jymm’s preferred attire is a skin-tight Minnie Mouse T-shirt with bright pink windbreaker pants. Even when not sporting his choice outfit, he dons short shorts and shirts with holes in them, because that’s what he finds most comfortable. His Santa Mo

    July 22, 2014

  • Feed your home piggy bank with a 15-year mortgage This summer, we finally decided to take the plunge we’d been contemplating for a while: converting our 30-year mortgage to one with a 15-year payoff. It’s a big step. Our payments will go up somewhat (the PITI — principal, interest, tax, and insuranc

    July 19, 2014

  • Under the dumb There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 19, 2014

  • Widening the loopholes This week, two more U.S. companies moved to reestablish themselves overseas, allowing them to pursue lower corporate tax rates. They will join dozens of others who have chased lower tax bills abroad while maintaining operations in the United States,

    July 19, 2014

  • Patriotism not questioned Editor:I am responding to Mayor Mary Jane Chesley’s Reader’s View article in the Thursday, June 19, 2014, Register-News “Patriotism is strong.”The mayor has missed the point of my Reader’s View/opinion article in the local newspapers regarding Flag D

    July 19, 2014

  • Who's telling a story now? For this administration, failure is always the result of a “communications” problem. Otherwise, failure might be taken as evidence of misguided ideology and incompetent execution, right? It’s a weird excuse for the president who fancies himself to be

    July 18, 2014

  • Why cutting corporate taxes won't help the middle class WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, I testified in front of the Joint Economic Committee on the topic of assessing the recovery after five years.As you can imagine, congressional testimony can be pretty frustrating these days for members of the fact-base

    July 18, 2014

  • Heart of darkness in buffer zone BOSTON — “Be careful. This is a dangerous corner.”It’s not until you visit the Boston Planned Parenthood clinic at the heart of the recent Supreme Court buffer-zone case that you realize the unnecessary danger it created. And I’m not even inside.On t

    July 18, 2014

  • When should U.S. use force? Was the Iraq war the greatest strategic error in recent decades, as some pundits have suggested recently? The simple answer is no. That honor belongs to the failure to take action against al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden before the attacks that killed ne

    July 17, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks