Sunday, 5 June 2011

Cheers to the old people

Today we had a party for my Grandma’s 101th birthday.

She was born in June, 1910 and when I think about how the world has changed over the course of her lifetime, it boggles my mind. She saw out every major war of the 20th Century except the Boer war (1899 - 1902). She saw the rise of the automobile and the introduction of radio, let alone television and the internet. ‘Australia’ was only 9 years old when she was born.

I wonder if I’ll see such amazing changes in my lifetime. Sure, technology has already profoundly changed all our lives and how we do things, but I wonder if the way we live and operate and interact will change so dramatically from one end of my life to the other, as it did so for her.

As anyone who has met her will tell you, my Grandma is a dude. And way, way cooler than I will ever be. Most of the niftiest things in my wardrobe I’ve nicked from hers. She’s led an amazing life, even though she never did anything ‘out of the ordinary’. I love listening to her stories and am reaching that stage when I wish I’d asked her more questions when we were both a little younger.

Some of the fabulous scarves that moved from my Grandma's wardrobe to mine.

On her 100th birthday I finally asked her if she remembered the first time she got drunk. She did. In a little pub in outback Queensland, she’d been having a few drinks with friends and didn’t realise just how many drinks until she went to stand up. But, she told me proudly, she had still managed to make it back to the hotel she was staying in. Drunkenness hasn’t changed.

On her 80th birthday in 1990, she started muttering about wanting a computer to stay up to date and so she could use it to type out her life story. We gave her an old computer which she played around with for a while but she was too busy to spend any real time on it. On her 90th birthday she was lamenting that she hadn’t spent the time to stay in touch with technology and she would now like a better computer ‘with the internet’.

She’s 101 and practically indestructible. As her doctors keep telling us, the only thing wrong with her is old age and there is no cure for that.

She’s been an amazing Grandmother and is one of the most important people in my life, a role model and one of my favourite people in the world.

Grandmothers and Grandfathers are precious, even if we don’t always appreciate them when we’re young.

Happy birthday Grandma, you old rocker you.

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