My grandmother, Helen McCowan Algier, turned 100 years old on Monday.
“I never thought I’d live this long…” she notes.
100 years of change. Think about all the things she’s seen come and go…
- Telephones were a relatively new device, having been patented in 1876. They were fairly rare in the rural parts of the country.
- Autos were rare, the first mass production started in 1902 by Ransom Olds in 1902.
- Airplanes were utterly bleeding edge, with the Wright Brothers having made the first flight in 1902.
- Computers were a far off dream.
The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal had an interesting article about Helen on Monday. Some of the information I didn’t know:
She learned to drive at age 46.
“My husband told me I had to learn,” Algier said, because he traveled quite a bit as a salesman, and being able to drive would give her some independence.
We had a party on Saturday for her with her friends from Landis Homes, where she lives in independent living, as well as family from around the country. Monday, we were going to have a small cake party at the restaurant she has lunch at everyday, Leola Family Restaurant, but unfortunately she had a fall and wasn’t able to go out. She’s doing fine and will no doubt be back to going out for lunch very soon.
During the party we used the wifi setup at Landis Homes to allow us to connect to Skype and video conference with my brother Craig’s daughter, Aliciia Cahill, who is in college at the University of Tampa. Many of the elderly in attendance marveled at how far technology has come.
The event also marks the first time she hasn’t reminded me that when I was 3 I tried to compliment her by telling her she made hamburgers “almost as good as MacDonald’s.”
We all look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with Helen…