“Growing up, my grandmother, Lois, always told me I was her favorite granddaughter. It was always followed by a quiet “shhh, don’t tell anyone.” It wasn’t until I was 7 or 8 that I looked around and realized I was in fact her only granddaughter in a sea of grandsons. It became a joke after that, but it still meant something special to both of us.
My grandmother was originally a small-town girl from Traer, Iowa. She has countless stories about working on her family’s dairy farm and playing hide and seek in the corn fields with her younger sister June. I loved sitting in her lap and hearing these stories when I was younger – learning about a life that felt like a world away from my own.
The stories that really stuck with me were those she told about her college years. She was not only the first woman in her family to attend college, she was the first in her whole town. She told me about her professors and about the social scene; but she also told me about the obstacles she faced as a woman and how much she had to fight to be heard. She had tenacity and determination beyond her years.
This past September we celebrated Lois’s 100th birthday. As I sat with my own daughter on my lap, we watched my grandmother light up the Zoom screen in her sparkly birthday tiara. I was reminded of how much her zest for life has inspired and guided me in my own. It filled me with an enormous sense of pride. I am lucky to have had so much time to get to know her and to learn from her trailblazing stories. And as her “favorite” granddaughter, I hope to live up to her example, for myself and my own daughter.”
– Rebecca in San Francisco