Amazing Grace!

Author: Brad  |  Category: Boardman Views, Care Giving, Conservatism, Education, Faith, Family, General, Health & Wellness, Kudos, Sunday School

The past couple weeks have been busy ones indeed.

As I reported in GET YOUR HUNDRED-YEAR QUESTIONS ANSWERED, Marc and I had planned to undertake a whirlwind trip to Rock Hill, South Carolina, to attend the 100th birthday celebration for my Aunt Grace.

Well, we’re back and boy did we rub up against history!  It truly was a blessed time.

We pulled in to Harbor Chase Assisted Living right at lunch time on Tuesday, December 1st, about three hours before the party was to start.  Having been escorted to the cafeteria by Diane, the Activities Coordinator (who could barely stand the excitement of our being there!), we walked up to Grace’s table for four as Grace was…saying grace.

Go figure.  An immediate clue to her secret to longevity.  Always give thanks to the right Person.

Grace doesn’t see anymore so we had to make our presence known.  After hugs, we were introduced to her long-standing table mates – Doll, Flo and Charles.

Of course, we immediately started snapping off documentary pictures.  After all, we were under strict orders by our mother to “take lots.”  Don’t worry, I’m not posting all of them here.

Grace Estelle Tice Boardman Matthews

Grace Estelle Tice Boardman Matthews

Speaking of strict orders, Aunt Grace had a couple of her own, the primary being:  “Don’t move anything!”

As any of you who are unsighted will appreciate, she’s well able to move around with her walker as long as people leave her stuff alone.  Folks who show up with the idea of “helping” are quickly made aware that the best “help” is simply NOT to help.

While we waited there at the lunch table (Grace has a standing rule that she’s always the last of the four to leave after meals, just in case one of the others needs her help.), I was able to play numerous greetings from the family recorded during our get-together for Thanksgiving the previous Thursday.

Family Greetings

Family Greetings

Following lunch, she took us down the hall to show us her room and to take care of some final “chores” prior to the party.  As we visited, Grace located, prepared and ate her usual half banana and a macaroon cookie.

“Are macaroons one of your favorites, Grace?” I asked.  “No,” she reported, “Not really.  But they keep me regular.”  🙂  Especially important when you’re her age.

When you look up the word “frugal” in the dictionary, you find a picture of Grace Matthews next to it. This is something our family has been aware of for years. So when Helen Lewis, Grace’s wonderful friend and helper told us that she had been out shopping for a new outfit for Grace to wear to the party, it was no surprise to hear that Grace had refused the new blouse to go along with it. “I’ll be wearing the blouse I got in 1949,” she said. I never did get to the bottom of that, but I suspect that along with her frugality in the matter there may have also been some sentimentality in that she would have had the 1949 blouse while her husband Ben was still alive. He passed away in 1950.

Helen had some last minute items to be completed for the celebration which was to be held in the activities room.  Marc and I were tasked with making a candle run to the nearby Rite Aid.  Though Harbor Chase Assisted Living is a fabulous facility, we noted that it was good to get outside for a few minutes of less-than-eighty-five-degree air.  Yes, I understand.  Older folks tend to keep the thermostats a bit higher than the rest of us do and I’m fine with that.

By 3 o’clock the perimeter of the activities center was lined with folks borne about by wheelchairs, all manner of scooters, walkers, canes and (probably) other assistive devices.  The long decorated table with the huge cake in the center was there with our Aunt seated behind it.  The wax candle figures – 1 0 0 – were awaiting the match and Andrew Dys, the reporter from Rock Hill’s local paper was there with his photographer to record the event.

Let's Get This Party Started!

Let's Get This Party Started!

Helen introduced Grace Matthews as the new centenarian, the candles were lit and extinguished and the festivities began.  During the course of the day an assortment of friends came through including the leader of the ladies “Circle” at the church where Grace is still active, folks that had known her from here and there and most specially, Margarette White.

“Do you remember Margarette White, Grace?”

“Well, of course!  She was my neighbor across the creek when my sister C.K. and I lived together in Sharon, S.C.”

“Well, shake her hand, because she’s right here!”

“Is that you, Margarette?”

“Yes, Grace, it’s me.  I came up to wish you a happy 100th birthday!  Congratulations!  By the way, I turned 100 in August!

Grace Matthews and Margarette White

Grace Matthews and Margarette White

It was truly amazing to be seated next to these ladies who have, between the two of them seen and experienced all that their century has had to offer them.  A special time indeed.  Just ask yourself what it would be like to have lived during the terms of eighteen different U.S. presidents!

Armed with all the questions that you readers listed in the Comments section of my November 15th post, I had high hopes of getting to “interview” Aunt Grace. That however, did not work out exactly as planned and I may have to use a different approach over the phone. You see, Grace is all about the here and now.   As one might imagine, having lived as long as she has the history gets a bit blurred. It’s not that she can’t remember things, but that the order of them and the impact just doesn’t seem to matter much to her. She’s much more interested in what’s happening right now and in accomplishing the things she has planned for the day.

As the party was beginning to wind down, she leaned over and said quietly to me that she really had some things she needed to get done back in her room before the end of the day.  Far be it from me to mess with the schedule of someone who obviously knows what’s important!

You’re in Boardman Country!

Make yourself at home while you enjoy a few more pictures,

Brad

Baby Grace Boardman - 1910

Baby Grace Boardman - 1910

1912

1912

C.K., Elisabeth, Adeline, Mary, Grace - 1922

C.K., Elisabeth, Adeline, Mary, Grace - 1922

C.K., Elisabeth, Adeline, Mary, Grace - 1934

C.K., Elisabeth, Adeline, Mary, Grace - 1934

Grace (Eldest), Dad (Younger by 22 years)

Grace (Eldest), Dad (Younger by 22 years)

Grace and Ben Matthews - Wedding Day, 1941

Grace and Ben Matthews - Wedding Day, 1941

1979

1979

2000

2000

Brad, Grace, Marc

Brad, Grace, Marc

Grace Matthews - Centenarian, 2009

Grace Matthews - Centenarian, 2009

Helping Hands

Helping Hands

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13 Responses to “Amazing Grace!”

  1. marc boardma Says:

    Nice article Brad. I had a great time traveling back to the Carolinas for the big event!

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Marc! I couldn’t have asked for a better travel cohort!

  3. Karen Says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! I loved reading this. I am sure she was so happy that day. all of you are awesome for taking the time to bless her and be blessed by her.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Crafters Need to Join! =-.

  4. admin Says:

    Thanks for coming by, Karen. I was fun attending and fun writing!

  5. Theresa Cahill Says:

    Brad what a marvelous story to share! Thank you so much, you’ve got me smiling… and hoping 🙂
    .-= Theresa Cahill´s last blog ..If You Don’t Think Women Rule, You Best Read This =-.

  6. Linda Says:

    What a wonderful post! To meet her friend who is also 100 years old is incredible! What a great blessing you were able to attend and share the day with us.

  7. psyche Says:

    Happy Birthday, Grace!!!

  8. A. @ A Changing Life Says:

    It’s so very inspiring reading this. Many more of us will live to be centenarians now. My mother died last year but aged “only” 89, but I can see some similarities, especially as far as telling us her story was concerned.
    .-= A. @ A Changing Life´s last blog ..PhotoHunt: undesirable =-.

  9. corrin Says:

    What a great day! Love all the old photos. Aunt Grace seems like a feisty lady!

  10. Barbara Says:

    What a precious jewel in your family crown! Great post, and what a blessing to have made the trip.

  11. ConnieFoggles Says:

    She seems to know the important things in life – the present! The photos, all of them, were a joy to see.
    .-= ConnieFoggles´s last blog ..Dental Cleaning Turns Into 2 Hour Appointment =-.

  12. Sam Matthews Says:

    Hey Brad,
    Thanks for sharing. I have copied these pics for my archives.
    It was nice meeting you and Marc when you were down in SC.

  13. Ron - AllAboutAlternatives Says:

    Great Read!!! Thanks! Age is a real gift to the rest of us. We can learn a lot from paying attention to these fine strong willed folks. Great story and thanks for taking the time to go visit aunt Grace. This is something more of us need to do.

    Smokey and I

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