Lessons I learned when you turned 100

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  1. Journaling is an art that should never die. It provides your legacy with an honest glimpse into your soul.
  2. Eating healthy and exercising do not dictate a long life, just as smoking and years of sunbathing do not mean it will be short. 
  3. Even when our minds have forgotten the faces of our loved ones, the site of a child still brings joy to our eyes.
  4. A woman is never too old for nail polish.
  5. I should have asked more questions.


When I met you, I misjudged you. I saw an elderly woman with a strong personality. I saw a woman who smoked and drove a car at 90 years old. I knew you loved cats and feeding peacocks, but I didn’t push beyond that. Maybe we, as a younger generation, are so consumed with ourselves, we have forgotten the legacy from which we came. I did not understand the courage and perseverance behind your choices…because I never really thought about your choices. I failed to see the woman who had lived an extraordinary life.

I just didn’t know until that day we found your boxes of journals, love letters, and newspaper clippings the passions of your heart. You traveled the world. You were a writer. A political activist. An artist. A lover. You were a passionate reader. You rocked a bikini. You were one of “The 3 Drips”, a name referring to your proclivity to being wet at the beach. I am sorry I didn’t know. You were beautiful. You are beautiful!lessons I learned when you turned 100

I wish you could have told me your stories while your mind could still remember. I would have ask you about the love letters and the pro baseball player in California. We would talk about being a delegate in the Nixon administration and visiting the troops in Europe when people didn’t just fly to Europe. Did you take a boat? I want to know what is was like being a single mother at a time when that was frowned upon. I would ask why you thought the church had repeatedly failed you. You walked boldly and your perspective is unique. You made tough choices and great sacrifices. Would you change any of it?

Your life took a major turn when you settled down to be a single mother. You became a librarian. You also smiled less in photographs. I don’t know why you lost your some of your sparkle but if it’s because you gave up a life of wanderlust and freedoms to raise your daughter, I appreciate that sacrifice.

You raised a daughter who knows how to love. I believe love is learned, modeled for us. You instilled this in her. She turned out great and I know this because I married her son. He knows how to love a woman, be a hands on father, and lead a family. Thank you Thelma for the choices you made. So when I asked you earlier if you would change any of it, I hope you say no.

Love from the girl who now paints your fingernails when she visits,


(I wrote this last week, just before grandma passed on Saturday – in loving memory of her)

Lessons I learned when you turned 100lessons I learned when you turned 100

printable “Interview Questions for my Grandparents”

Grandparent Interview Questions | Do your children know the life stories of their grandparents? Let this printable and post encourage you to ask [the House of Hendrix}

Grandparent Interview Questions | Do your children know the life stories of their grandparents? Let this printable encourage you to ask.

Grandparent Interview Questions | Do your children know the life stories of their grandparents? Let this printable and post encourage you to ask [the House of Hendrix}

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37 thoughts on “Lessons I learned when you turned 100

  1. Alli, I love what you wrote. I agree, it is worth looking beyond what we see in this shell of an earthly body. Thank you for sharing some of her/your story here. We were blessed to have Gram, (David’s grandmother) nearby until a year and a half ago. I am so glad for the memories we have of spending time with her!

  2. I am sorry for your family’s lose…but what a way to make us ask think about those elderly around us or those who aren’t that elderly yet that we still have the chance to ask the questions we are too busy to ask

  3. This is just beautiful. What a lovely tribute. I lost both my grandmothers this year and I am so grateful to know their stories. I did ask them and write down what they said years ago. Now I need to teach my children to do the same with their grandparents. Thank you for the reminder. Peace be with you and your family.

  4. This is so touching. I too am sorry for your loss. Along with the journals and memorabilia you found, I’m sure your children will someday treasure this post that records some of their history …and their mom’s heart.

  5. Sorry for your loss, thank you for the inspiration. T
    his was truely touching, it bought tears to my eyes!

  6. Honestly and poignantly written. I’ve been meaning to ask my grandparents a bit more about their history whilst I am still able to enjoy their company. Thanks for sharing Thelma’s story & the printable.

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  8. What a beautiful write up. I am using the list of questions as an educational offering for the children I am consulting with on their education.(I hope that’s okay?) I am also going to see some relatives this next week who are ageing.. this was so perfect in timing! Thank you for the reminder to love those around you every day.. and my heart goes out to your family.

  9. After loosing our parents unexpectedly at the age of 70, I can tell you that all 7 children wish we would have asked more questions earlier on. Hopefully this will get the conversation started for others, and I will start answering some of these questions for my kids and grandkids even before they ask.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. I was very touched by reading this. I plan on printing these questions out and having them saved for my granddaughter. She is only 2 yr old now but I am sure that she will enjoy reading them when she gets older. Thank you for taking the time to share this.

  11. What a touching tribute, Allison. Nanas and Grandmas are the most special of people. I was fortunate to have mine well into my adult years. Getting to know her “woman to woman”, and spending countless hours together cooking, crafting and hearing her stories are treasured memories now. What a wonderful thing you’ve done here – inspiring others to get to know their grandparents better while they have them. Thank you for sharing with us. x

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  14. You are killing me today, I keep reading your posts and each one is hitting closer and closer to home. My Gradma turns 100 in Sept. and I treasure each and every memory I have made with her. The stories of life lived years ago need to be kept alive for future generations. Thank you is all I can say…..

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  17. A beautiful tribute! How wonderful to have her stories in her photos and journals and to be able to tell her story even when she no longer can. She sounds like an extraordinary woman. I am so sorry for your family’s loss.

  18. What a poignant post! My own grandparents both passed this year. I seem to have a lot of questions to ask, and not many people to ask them to. I want my children to interview their grandparents — so they don’t have the same issue I have. Thank you for the printable as well.

  19. Thank you for these questions. Mailing them to my daughters great grandparents. Asking her grandparents too! Im excited about the answers too.

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