JOY --- Jesus On the JourneY

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thank You, Grandma Walton

We've been studying family changes, challenges and crisis in my Marriage and Family Living classes. 2 months ago I had visited with one of my students and as we were catching up on each other's week, he told me his grandfather had just died at the age of 96. I questioned -- was this his GREAT grandfather or GRANDfather? (I thought that old -- he must be his a "great". He said it was his grandfather most definitely and went on to share what active and special people they are. His grandparents were just short of celebrating their 79th wedding anniversary.

I asked about grandmother and Jon said she still drove, was very sharp (mentally)-- at 96, is a great cook and still quite active. The Challenges of Aging is part of this particular unit and we're moving into Relationships --the thought occurred to me who better to talk to my students about marriage than someone who'd been married for SO long? Who wouldn't have had at least a few challenges in 96 years of living?

I prepped my students by having them submit questions they wanted to ask Mrs. Walton.
one of their's was "What was it like in the 60's and 70's? --like that was some sort of ancient history or something -- hey, was MY day-- whew! that makes me feel really old. Most of their questions were all like "how did you stay married that long?"

Tiny little "Grandma" arrived right on time today and was D-E-L-I-G-H-T-F-U-L! A pretty little lady in a peach slack suit, my students were charmed by her wit and wisdom. She shared the essentials of making a marriage last a lifetime, said that raising children and having someone to share life with were her greatest joys of marriage. She said respect and finding someone who was a good person were two necessary components to a healthy marriage. Married in 1931 at 17 (they eloped -- the kids LOVED that story) she helped support her husband through college and law school by working as a comptroller in Washington, D.C.

She told this plugged-in, ipod generation that she rememberes silent movies, not having radio or television, buying a hamburger for a nickel and a gallon of gas for a quarter. She went on to say that to be successful they had to work hard and go to college or get some kind of education.

Growing up, she said, everyone in the neighborhood walked to church and said that if her family happended to be out of town -- their dog would just go on up, anyway - as that was what everybody did back then and that going to church was always an important part of their lives.

She stressed to these awestruck highschoolers (we all had to keep reminding ourselves that she was really 96) that staying involved with others and keeping their minds active by reading are important to mental alertness.

"Grandma Walton" finished by saying she wouldn't want to be a teenager today and that she believes there are too many temptations -- "with all that dope out there". She told them living together outside of marriage was not the way to have a successful marriage. Her frankness and forthrightness brought grins to all of them.

John earlier had told me of his grandfather's last stay in the hospital being extended a few days. One of the nurses said, "I bet you like that with all of these pretty girls taking care of you," He quickly shot back with, "Why would I want that when I'm married to the prettiest girl in the world?"

As she left my students all agreed Mrs. Walton, could be "Grandmother of the Year" HANDS DOWN!

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