This past weekend, we celebrated my grandmother’s 106th birthday. What a blessing! Can you imagine the things she has seen? The changes she has lived through?
She has voted for 18 presidents and seen the ratification of 12 Constitutional Amendments including the creation of income tax and the Internal Revenue Service; Prohibition – coming and going; the right of women to vote and presidential term limits.
In her lifetime, our country has been involved in World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam Conflict, Bay of Pigs, the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War. Thousands and thousands of young soldiers have died and she lives on.
She was here when Henry Ford first began mass producing automobiles. You could order a Ford anyway you wanted it, as long is was black and came with the standard features. She was here when the Wright Brothers took their first (and reportedly only) flight together. Look at the numbers of automobiles and aircraft that surround us today. She was here for their beginnings.
She survived the Great Depression and the Dustbowl. She witnessed the discovery of the Milky Way and forty-one years later, the first manned space flight when Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space when he orbited the Earth in a Vostok spacecraft on April 12, 1961. About a month later, she watched Alan Shepard, Jr. became the first American in space onMay 5, 1961, when he was launched aboard Mercury-Redstone 3. She was around when the transistor radio was invented and when television and telephones came along. She saw television transition from teeny-tiny black and white screens to humongous high definition, three-dimensional color screens.
In her time, penicillin and other antibiotics were discovered. Cardiac surgery went from cracking a chest open to minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery.
Things we take for granted every day are things that developed or were discovered during her lifetime: telephones, cell phones, computers, air conditioning and heating units, indoor plumbing, and microwaves.
More importantly to us, Leah Virginia Trammell was born in Iredell, Texas on October 14, 1910, to Marion and Ada Trammell. She married John Roy Dannar and together they raised three children: Becky, Shirley, and Roy. Her family grew to include eight grandchildren, twenty-four great-grandchildren, and twenty-six great-great-grandchildren.
She still loves to quilt and when I called to speak to her the other day, Aunt Shirley said she couldn’t come to the telephone. Worried I asked why. 106 years old, Grandma was up to her elbows in ground beef. She was making her world famous meatloaf for dinner.
Happy Birthday, Grandma! Wishing you many, many more to come. We love you and wouldn’t be here without you.