Thursday, January 8, 2009
The end of my grandmom's generation
I hurried from the Ga Tech homecoming to my great aunt's 98th birthday party in Roswell thinking it may be the last one. I didn't really know Aline Nash, known to me as Aunt 'leen, that well.....yet. At that party I learned that she had only stopped driving a year or so before. By her 100th birthday party, I was living in Mississippi and was able to join her many friends and family as we celebrated her life. I found out that her nickname was "Zeene." Her reputation of having a heavy foot and being the favored "taxi driver" made me recognize our family resemblance. We moved to GA after she turned 101, but since we still had family in MS, we Ialways tried to visit. I had opportunities to visit Aunt 'leen in her three different assisted-living homes, always thinking each would be the last. Her rooms were adorned with photos, certificates, a US-Presidential-autographed letter, and her amazing tatting. She even tried to teach me how to tat; I videoed it. I have one of her tatted angels, numbered and signed. One of her angels has been sold in the Smithsonian Museum gift shop! Melea, my young daughter, listened with me to her interesting stories. Her mind was always sharp as a tack. She could remember all eight of my children's names. In answer to the question, "What memory do you have of a US president?" she colorfully told the story of her one-room school going down to the train station to see Taft as he rode by. She had a "tie stool" she had made from a wooden chair. Using old neck ties like cane, she wove a very sturdy seat. We've since made one, also. I was in GA when she turned 104 so I called to tell her "happy birthday." Maybe her last. While I had her on the phone, I asked the question everyone always asked me, "What's your secret?" She quickly responded, "If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret, now would it!" The real last time I got to visit was the summer of '07. She was 105. I went with her to the dining room. She was wheeled in a chair, first time I didn't see her walk. But, when I asked if the food was good she smartly replied with a twinkle in her eyes, "If you like it!" A year and a half later, without ever having major surgery, Aline Nash gave in to congestive heart failure at 107.