Tuesday, February 10, 2009
100 Years Ago Today
My dad was born in Omaha, Nebraska on February 10, 1909. He was born at home, so there's no record left of the time of day, though I'm certain my sweet grandmother remembered that day very well.
Because of the dementia the last few years of his life, dad insisted he was already 100 to anyone he met. I'm sure his late 90s certainly FELT like one hundred years of living!
Dad and I used to go to the local mall for ice cream and people watching, two of his favourite things all his life. One time there was a club of cute nerdy boys from the nearby junior high school meeting next to where dad and I sat with our ice cream in the Food Court. Dad kept staring at the boys, asking me "Why do they like to wear their pants down around their read ends like that?"
A couple of the boys at the adjoining table were giving dad the eye, too, so when their meeting broke up I told them dad wanted to know why they wore their pants like that. "We just like it, that's all" one of the piped up. "You like to wear your hat like that, so I guess we're even." Dad grinned and said "Oh, we're not close to even....I'm a hundred years old!"
The two boys dropped their stuff and immediately came over, eyes wide. "You're a HUNDRED?" asked one in a tone of hushed awe. "Well, purt' near...I'm 94!" "When my dad was your age," I inserted, "he didn't have electricity in his house and no one he knew owned a car, either!" "Wowww... no tv?" Dad just laughed, "Nope, no tv, no radio, no computer, no electric lights in the house."
Silence reigned as the two young men tried to wrap themselves around such a foreign world. And then the younger one lit up with a question that it was clear he thought would help him understand just how old dad was. "Did you know Benjamin Franklin and George Washington?" "No," he laughed, "but I knew the first Americans in space, and Teddy Roosevelt was President when I was born." "Wowww...that is SO cool! I've never met ANYone as old as YOU!"
There was a wonderful meeting of like minds there. Dad may have been 85 years older than them, but they were three of a kind. I really hope those boys tucked that meeting away somewhere in their psyches, and that someday they pay it forward. Dad would've liked that a lot.
more about my father, and see a few photos, I have compiled a series I wrote about him on a single webpage.