My grandmother (my mom’s mom) was born 100 years ago today. We’re planning to honor her this weekend, which will be the 4th in my series of 15 25’s to 35 (yes, I still owe a post about the third one), but I wanted to give you a sense of what the world my grandmother was born into was like, and a few nods to the things that have come along since. Gram died 10 years ago this April, and I miss her dearly. This post is for her. -Sarah
Anna May Brown (later Dickerson) was born on March 25, 1916. At that time, the country was still a year away from declaring war on Germany, although much of the rest of the world was pretty entrenched in battle in WWI. Women still had the length of a presidential term to wait before they could vote in one. BMW was formed earlier that March. The company that would become Boeing was incorporated. Pancho Villa led Mexico in a fight against the United States.
Dadaism was a new art movement when my Gram was born. It was the year of the Easter Rising in Ireland. It was also the year that President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts. The Saturday Evening Post published its first issue with cover art from Norman Rockwell. The first published reference to “jazz” appeared in Variety. The National Park Service was created in 1916, and Margaret Sanger opened the first U.S. birth control center (a forerunner for Planned Parenthood), but one could still be arrested for lecturing on birth control, as was the case for Emma Goldman earlier that same year and Sanger herself a few months later. The toggle light switch was invented. Poland was established.
Wow, that sounds old.
It’s better when you hear I’m 34, but still. Guys, I’m 34. Today. And you know what? I couldn’t be happier.
I can’t remember the last birthday I looked forward to this much. Not only is it the third 25th (of 15), but my parents and siblings are coming for dinner, and I have a boyfriend with whom to celebrate. I feel like a teenager. (Hence the title of this post.)
But, unlike a sweet sixteen-year-old, I have the wisdom of adulthood (that’s that other 18 years). I’ve lived through the tumultuous teens and terrifying twenties, and I’m well into the thrilling thirties.
My sister and brother-in-law gave me an air plant for Christmas, and it is delightful. They gave me three, actually, but two of them aren’t faring so well. The one I’ve named Nemo, though, reminds me of the giant squid at the end of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He looks like a deep sea diver trying to escape. It’s actually quite beautiful and active.
Despite the name, air plants are very aquatic in that you have to soak them twice a week for a couple of hours each time. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching all that floating, or maybe I’ve just been missing the pool for a long time, but I decided to get back into swimming this year. And, luckily, the Y not too far from my apartment just reopened after being remodeled. I bought a membership and went for the first time on the opening night of the pool. Here was my experience:
I celebrated the 25th of January a day late, but not a dollar short. Tuesday, January 26 I met up with my thesis-writing group, the Merms, which has continued meeting regularly even though we all graduated three years ago. There are four of us, like the four seasons or the four cardinal directions or four sides of a square table.
We usually celebrate the holidays, well, closer to the holidays, but with our busy schedules the end of January was as close to the New Year as we could get. Which was fine by me, since I wanted something to celebrate around the 25th.
We went to the Commodore, a one-time speakeasy from the ’20s that boasted patrons like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ma Barker, and John Dillinger. Not those people, but patrons like them.*
Is it possible that January is almost over? Man, it’s been a month. I have a post about the second 25th and how I celebrated (a day late but not a dollar short) coming soon, but I realized I never posted about my theme for the year, so here it is.
You might remember that my friend Stacia and I have a theme for each year, starting back in 2007. You can read all about it here.
Well, the first of the 15 25s has passed. It was Christmas, and in my family, it was a three-day affair, so it was definitely celebrated. The pre-show involved a lot of decorating (the tree, presents, cookies, my feet):
The main event involved a lot of destroying (presents, food, my ego in Nok hockey):
And I rang in the new year with friends.
I had the whole week off (huge job perk), which I used to both be productive in cleaning and organizing and lay around on my couch binge-watching Netflix. It was a pretty good break, and I feel like the celebration of the 25th stretched well into the new year.
In 15 months, I’ll be 35. Actually, 14 months exactly after Christmas, but who’s counting? That means counting December 25 (and my 35th birthday) there are 15 25’s (the 25th of the month) to age 35.
I’m not dreading it, necessarily, though I tend to do better in the even years so I’m a little more excited for 34, but I also feel like after a certain point, the only exciting birthdays are the decades (and often they’re not exciting so much as noteworthy). What about the half-decades? What about every month? Every day? Okay, maybe that’s taking it a little far, but what if we found something to celebrate every month, on purpose?
Eating crow is an American colloquial idiom, meaning humiliation by admitting wrongness or having been proven wrong after taking a strong position. – Wikipedia
I’m not really eating Crow, in the colloquial or the literal sense*, but I do feel like I’ve been humbled by petering out at the end of the month here. I’ll have one more post tomorrow, and then I’ll resume my regular** posting, but I just wanted to take some time to thank you for following along this month, for commenting (in person and online) about the posts, and for sending encouragement along the way. It really helped me continue, despite my failings at the end. So, thanks!
Thursday was a fun gathering of my mom’s side of the family. Crow helped set the table and after dinner, he led us all in a rousing rendition of “Over the River and Through the Woods,” the only Thanksgiving song*** (kind of?) that we could think of. If he joins us at Christmas, I’m sure he’ll have lots of songs in his repertoire.
We then played Bingo and a few rounds of cards, because the holidays aren’t the holidays without games!****