Happy 105th Birthday, Grandma!

Grandma turned 105 today and I’ll actually be in Chattanooga in time for her birthday party on Sunday.  She is a remarkable woman and the inspiration for my novelette First Flight.

I had been on a panel about research we were talking about the importance of primary sources.  One of the panelists said, “Of course, you can’t get a primary source if you want to talk about the Spanish Flu epidemic.”

It suddenly occurred to me that I could, because Grandma was born in 1905. It started me thinking about all the things she had seen in her life. In the story, the main character says:

I’ve lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Collapse. I lived through race riots, saw us put men on the moon, the Spanish Flu, AIDS, the Titanic, Suffrage and the Internet. I’ve raised five children and buried two, got twenty-three grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren with more on the way.

I’m not making any of that up (although I am losing track of the number of cousins I have).  I mean, the things she’s seen and the way the world has changed in her lifetime is staggering.  She’s an amazing woman, still sharp and interested in everything. I can’t introduce you to her for real, but the story comes pretty close.

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4 Responses

  1. CJ

    I just read First Flight on thursday, and am thrilled to hear that the wonderful protagonist is based on a real person. Tell your grandmother that The Internet wishes her many happy returns.

    CJ (xturtle on twitter; usually a lurker, here).