|Megans #1 & #3 - At 90, still beautiful.|
I am having a hard time remembering the things she talked about, but I remember some of the things she lived through. Her parents were from Wales, they immigrated to this country a few years or so before she was born. She had four big brothers, two born in Wales. Her parents didn't speak English very well. She never spoke Welsh, but could understand it when it was spoken to her. She grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania during the Great Depression. Some of her brothers and her husband fought in WWII. My grandfather (Pop Pop) was among the US Army personnel that liberated Dachau, though he didn't like to talk about it, he did tell my brother and I some of the things he had seen there. After the Army, my grandfather was in the National Guard for 20 years, retiring a Lieutenant Colonel, so they were a military family and Nain raised my mom alone for the first year of her life.
Both of her sons were in the Army during the Vietnam War. My Uncle Donny was a paratrooper, and was awarded several medals, including a Silver Star, and a Purple Heart with Clusters. He was released from the Army with Commendations for his bravery. Her other son, Jeff, was in Thailand for much of the war, working as a code translator for the Army. My grandmother had to have had untold stores of strength to get through both sons being oversees, but much worse was to come.
In 1979, my Uncle Donny was killed in an accident. He was only 31 years old. In later years she would survive the deaths of all her brothers, their wives who were her best friends, and her husband. She had buried one son, and the other just drifted away. We haven't heard from him in almost 15 years. I know she carried that pain with her. Through the years, all of her friends passed away, one by one. I think she is the last one of her generation in our family.
Even after Pop-Pop died, she was very independent. She survived breast cancer, but only after having a double mastectomy. She eventually moved from PA to be closer to my mom and dad, but for years she made the 7 hour drive all by herself to come for visits. I know it had to be hard for her to leave Pennsylvania, and all that was comfortable and familiar.
Ninety years can hold an awful lot of life, can't it? So, we gathered. We celebrated. And, for the gazillionth time in a week, we ate cake.
We piled all the kids; big, medium and small, into an activities room at Nain's nursing home. Four generations, all starting with this one tiny woman. She LOVED it! She always loves being the Belle of the Ball, and this birthday was no different. She loved being sung to. She loved the presents, she loved the kids running around like maniacs, having been fed cake and no supper, yet. She had some rare moments of clarity. She seems to always know my mom, and Dani's little Squishy, but she told me to go get Aunt Sadie, who's been dead for 60 years, a piece of cake. I, of course, obliged. We told her how old she was and she thought she must be much older than merely ninety. A minute later she was protesting that she was only 17. (She was hit by a car at 17, and this age and event seems to stick in her head more than most.)
Overall, I think she had a good time. She wasn't ready to quit partying when a nurse came to get her! We tried, rather unsuccessfully to get a photo with Nain (or SupaNain, as all the great grands call her) and all the great grand children, but it wasn't to be. Meg had class, and a couple of them were rather uncooperative.
|Amy, Pete and Nain|
|SupaNain and Baby Spencer|
|Nain, my mom and dad, Stacy, Amy, and babies|
|Kakers and Noodle - why do our nicknames so often revolve around food?|
|Biz and Wish|
|Well, we tried!|