Spent yesterday down in the Metroplex with Nana, celebrating her 101st birthday.
Good Lord, the things that lady has seen.
She was born in Forreston, Texas in August of 1907. Horses were the primary means of transportation, followed by steam locomotives. There had never been a World War — much less two — and the thought was inconceivable.
The telephone had been invented, but none were to be seen in Central Texas for a while. Likewise, the Wright Brothers had flown at Kill Devil Hills some four years earlier, but it would be years after Nana’s birth before she and her family would see an aeroplane.
Edison had patented an incandescent light bulb; but Nana can remember seeing her first one.
Indoor plumbing was the exception, rather than the rule, and most families used well-water and detached outhouses for their plumbing needs.
When Nana was born, Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States, and she’s seen seventeen more in the Oval Office. There’ve been nine Popes, five Monarchs in Great Britain; and the United States consisted of 45 States on the day of her birth, with Oklahoma being admitted to the Union when she was three months old.
She remembers the RMS Titanic going down, as well as the RMS Lusitania, the Spanish ‘flu pandemic, the Great Depression and the first permanent Personal Income Tax law in the United States.
I can remember the awe and excitement over Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon, and I wonder if she felt something similar when she heard that Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic? Or when she heard that Robert Peary had reached the North Pole, or when Roald Amundsen found the South Pole?
I remember how things have changed since the Internet came into my home in 1999 — and I wonder how her life changed with the advent of first radio, and then television? Or the Interstate Highway System?
It makes me wonder if any other generation will ever see as much drastic change as my Nana. If anyone else will effectively go from horse-and-buggy to interplanetary travel? From telegraph to the World Wide Web? Or would want to?
Or — more importantly — would another generation handle such drastic change as gracefully as my grandmother?
Happy Birthday, Nana.