I just returned from Texas. I was visiting my parent’s with my sisters and brother to celebrate my Grandma Hughlett’s 100th birthday. Yes, that is a big milestone.
My three sisters all lived with ‘Gram’ for a period of time and really got to know her very well. First, my sister Lisa moved to Minneapolis after college graduation and was closely followed by my sister Linda. Then, Lori moved to the University of Minnesota, so Gram got the Kunze trifecta. Serving as surrogate mom and giving up her basement to three 20-somethings. I imagine it is like “Friends” meets “Golden Girls.”
For as long as I can remember, my Gram has been very tolerant and pretty patient. Possibly that comes from spending nearly half of your life with people under 30 living with you. I learned (and remembered) a few things about my Gram this weekend—
- My Gram likes the GoGo’s. My sisters say it was because they were an all girl band. That has to give her an award for the coolest 80 year old Grandma!
- Gram loved Solid Gold—do you remember this show?
- Gram loves baseball. She is a big Twins fan and would love to see them back in the World Series. She may have to stick it out a few years for that.
- Gram thinks that Hillary Clinton will be a great president. She liked John Edwards, but since he isn’t in the race any longer, she is backing Hillary. I asked my aunt, mom and sisters if they think Gram ever voted for a Republican or not, none of them knew.
For as long as I can remember, Gram has been a newshound. She always had the newspaper delivered to her house and read it from cover to cover. Also, watching the TV news at her home was a prerequisite. One night on my recent visit, I stopped and saw her, she was watching the Jim Lehrer News Hour. Gram didn’t want to come to dinner with us because she said that she was tired. My Uncle Don said she wasn’t tired, but that she wanted to watch the news. Even at 100, she can’t get enough.
The changes that Gram has seen in her life are truly remarkable. In 100 years so many things have changed, from the use of the car, two world wars, a great depression, the telephone, the television, launching a man in to space, reaching the moon, and the internet (where you read this today). Not to mention the subtle changes—my grandfather was a milkman, my kids have no idea what a milkman is.
The world has changed, and Gram has kept pace. She could have just dug in and resisted and refused to keep learning. But Gram didn’t. Dealing with all of this change (and the pace of it) over a lifetime is truly remarkable. But her desire to continue to stay on top of things and even to remain informed is even more admirable.
I guess you could say that my Gram is a progressive or even possibly a feminist. But those may not be a terms she really identifies with. I guess my Gram is a person who is just accepting of people and has adjusted to the world around her as it has continued to change. You might even say that she has stayed on the cutting edge, or at least the learning edge.
Gram believes in women and their capabilities and their rightful equality in society. I saw it in the way that she interacted with my sisters when they lived with her, and I guess that comes from raising two strong women and seeing her 3 children raise strong capable women themselves. Even considering her age, she didn’t think that women should be treated any differently.
Yes, 100 years is certainly a milestone. But her legacy is not her age. It is her enduring desire to learn and the belief that her daughters, granddaughters and even great granddaughters can do anything that they want.
Also check out the Photo Gallery for some great pictures of Gram and the party.