Celebrating 90 Years of Living

There are not many things that live to be 90 years old. I’ve heard of cities celebrating 90 years, or award ceremonies, but rarely do you get to know someone personally that is 90 years old. I’m blessed to say that I’ve had my Grandma Mac around for 90 years (and my other Grandma for 80!). The older I get the more I realize what a special and rare occasion it is to have had so much of your life spent with Grandmas/Grandparents. There are a lot people that have never known the safety of a Grandparents hug, the warmth of their laughter, or the taste of their cooking. :) It’s moments like these that hold some of my fondest childhood memories.

Last Sunday my mom, my Grandma B (my mom’s mom), and I took off on a road trip to KC to celebrate my Grandma Mac’s 90th Birthday. It was truly a momentous occasion with handmade brunch (my favorite!) and family that I have not seen since I was a kid. It was one of those afternoons where time stood still and it felt refreshing to stop the busyness of the hour and celebrate the gift of 90 years.

My mom wrote the following speech about my Grandma Mac and I thought she did terrific job describing all the in and outs of this wonderful lady and sharing a few new things that I didn’t even know!

“We are gathered here today to celebrate and honor the life of Jenny Alvena Cook McClellan. To live a full, healthy, independent, productive life on this earth for 90 years is truly a gift from God. The amount of history and change she has witnessed during this time is mind-boggling to me. From the clothing styles, big bands, wars, the great depression, civil rights, technology, let alone her generation witnessing full circle the events of women gaining equality and rights that young women today are born into.

For most us gathered here Alvena has been a presence in your life since birth. By the time I met Alvena I was the ripe old age of seventeen and totally smitten with her son David. Little did I know that she would become my mother-in-law, my second mother, and a dear friend for almost forth years.

Alvena has a great sense of humor, loves to laugh, and has always enjoyed life. She loves games and sports and I have had the pleasure of enjoying golfing and bowling leagues (which she plays on the Wii) with her. She is very competitive which anyone who has played pinnacle with her can attest too. She is stubborn and strong-willed and will arm wrestle you over who is going to pick up the tab… in fact she and her sister Ellen (who she is Skyping in the photo above) are tied in holding the fastest record for chasing a moving car down the street and throwing (successfully) money through the car window.

Alvena was raised in a time where children had manners, you helped your neighbors, and courting occurred in steps. During our trips to Ft. Scott (Alvena’s hometown) to visit Grandma Cook or the Mullanes, until Dave and I were married, I shared a bed with her in Grandma’s attic otherwise known as the “freezer”. I always assumed to prevent from any late night ‘rendezvous’.

Alvena is warm, welcoming, always tries to see the best in everyone, the blessings in situations, and I have never heard her say a harsh hurtful word about anyone. As a mother-in-law she never gave unwanted unasked for advice or opinions and I”m sure there were times her tongue was sore from biting it.

Alvena loves her family deeply and outside of my own mother, she has been the greatest gift and presence in my life and has helped shaped and define who I am as a woman. By example, she has shown me what grace and faith look like. She has held my hand and heart in the my darkest hours on this earth when both Megan (Guillain-Barre) and David (Cancer) were so ill. She has been dealt with deep sorrow and several losses in her lifetime, but by example she showed me how to accept loss with faith and grace and to persevere trusting that God is all knowing. 

One of the greatest blessings I gained through my marriage with David, that I inherited you… I often tell people that David was my gift that keeps on giving because you and your daughters have continued to be present and a part of my life even after I remarried. I am a richer woman for having known you and your children.

There is a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson called Success where he identifies several items which he contributes to having lead a successful life. At the end he states;

‘To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.’

My life has breathed easier because of you Alvena. Thank you for being an angel in my life.”

- Paula (Meg’s mom)

Happy 90th Birthday Grandma Mac! I feel honored to have had such a wonderful example of love as a child and grace as a woman. I love you and if you ask me you’re looking pretty dang sexy for 90! ;)

From the Farm

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About meg:

I like curly lines, and the simple joys of life. Good coffee and the perfect souffle.

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3 Responses to “Celebrating 90 Years of Living”
  1. Paula Ewertz

    What a wonderful tribute. I love the pictures… i share the day with the men at home!!
    Thanks for honoring grandmother even more!!


  2. anne welch

    Awesome job Meg. It was truly one of the most special moments to me. Love u

  3. Nicole

    Wonderful, so glad you had that special day :) I loved seeding the pictures, everything looked so pretty! Aunt Paula’s poem almost brought me to tears, what a great piece to express how great she really is. Love you all

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