A very special Happy Birthday to my Grandma
Grandma and me, 2003
In 1906, the year Katherine Rupprecht was born:
- There were 45 states.
- Teddy Roosevelt was President.
- Life expectancy was 48.9 years.
- Cars were invented but only the richest could afford them. The Model T came out in 1908.
- The Wright brothers were granted a patent for a flying machine.
Here are some sample prices:
- children's coat 1.98-8.50 each
- men's shirt .29-.69 each
- women's dress shoes 4.25 pair
- beef/sirloin steak .25/3lb
- chocolate .30-.60/lb
- butter .24/lb
- pillowcases 42"x36" .09
It must be an amazing feeling to have lived 100 years. Grandma has lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression and has watched life go from horse and buggy to automobile to people venturing into space. In the last hundred years there has been an almost mind-numbing array of inventions and innovations that have changed the face of daily life. So many of these (TV, microwave, radio, computers, internet, stereo systems, washing machines, electricity, indoor plumbing) I take for granted, yet at one time they were expensive novelties. Even little things like clothing styles have changed, sometimes dramatically, with each decade.
Yet, through it all, Grandma has remained her sweet steady self. Her interests are lively and varied. She has always been a careful observer. She gave birth to nine children; seven are still living. She was married for over sixty years to the most remarkable Oliver C. Rupprecht. I used to tell my mom I hoped I would be half as good a mom and person as she is. Mom always said some version of aw shucks and remarked that she had always said the same to Grandma.
I grew up in Oregon while all my grandparents lived in Wisconsin, so we didn't get to see them that often. Yet I remember visits to their homes very clearly. Grandma Rupprecht always wore the same neatly tailored dresses (I remember one with a brown houndstooth pattern in particular) and had her long hair pinned up. To me as a child, the sameness of her clothes represented her stability. Grandma was always quiet but warm and kind and had a gently methodical way about her. It is difficult to think of Grandma without thinking of Grandpa Rupprecht. He was such an influential and strong person and Grandma seemed to be in his shadow. When he died six years ago, I wondered how it would affect Grandma. But she has soldiered on, continuing to think her own thoughts and live life.
She lives far away, but her good influence has reached down through the years and across the miles. I feel blessed to be able to call her "Grandma."
Happy 100th birthday, Grandma!