Gramma's Columns
Gramma Lois was a published author at the age of 100! 

When she was living at La Posada senior community, Gramma began writing a column for the monthly newsletter, the “La Posada Post”.  She was asked to do so because she was one of the oldest residents there.  I have reprinted as many as I could find here for posterity.

 

Gramma and I at her 100th birthday party in 2000

 

August 2000

The year was 1918, the year the dread “flu” had come to our little Minnesota town. The “flu” that had claimed more victims than the war in Europe- the war where our brother was fighting to “save the world for Democracy” to “end all war forever”. And who in our family was the victim? Our precious baby sister, Dolly, who lay feverishly struggling for breath, moaning, “Want Lolu's doll. Want Lolu's doll”.

That doll was my pride and joy, a gift from a dear aunt and my favorite possession! She was a “French” doll, about the size of my sister, with a soft body that was perfect for displaying her complete wardrobe, that I faithfully changed and washed and ironed. There were even tiny shoes that could be removed and put back on. Her head was china, with painted lips, nose, ears, and blushing cheeks. Best of all, she had blue eyes that opened and shut. She was crowned with soft brown curls that could be brushed and rearranged. Share this treasure with my sister? Never!!

The doctor came and warned us that unless Dolly could be kept quiet, the fever might rise and become really serious. Mama pleaded with me. “If she dies, you'll be sorry. It will be your fault...” At last I gave in and very reluctantly brought my doll. My sister struggled to a sitting position and held out both arms. Tenderly, she hugged my doll, the raised one hand to its hair, grabbed a handful and gave a strong yank. Off came the hair, to my horror. Throwing it aside, she plunged her hand into the void and grasped the eyes. Another yank and out they came.

Then, with a beautific smile, down she lay and went calmly to sleep.

January 2001

As I wind down from months of “Christmas cheer”, I am reminded of my childhood Christmases.

There was always the tree, which appeared on Christmas day, brought by Santa himself as a place to leave his gifts. It was beautifully decorated, with strings of cranberries, popcorn and tinsel. There were tinfoil- covered nuts and small fruits, colorful glass balls and streamers of foil to represent icicles, and a shiny star at the top. Tree light had not yet been developed, so there were candles in small holders clipped to the branches. Nearby stood buckets of water to put out the fire so often caused by lighted candles.

Under the tree were gifts, carefully wrapped in tissue paper and tied with ribbons or colored twine. Decorated paper was not yet available, except perhaps in the city. Woolworth's had not reached small towns in the early nineteen hundreds.

In those days most gifts were “useful” items. A girl might receive a new “best” dress, warm stockings or mittens or a squirrel or fox muff to keep her hands warm. There might even be a ring or bracelet. Boys also received clothing, as well as knives with small tools folded into the holders. Bicycles, sleds and toy wagons were popular, and, of course, candy, cookies and especially chewing gum, which had only recently appeared.

In our family each child could ask for one special gift. From the age of eight, my younger brother wanted just one thing: a “dollar” watch. When he received it, he retired to his room and took it apart; then tried to put it back together. Year after year the same request and the same procedure. When he was twelve years old, he proudly presented it to us after his struggle- and it was running!

February 2001

Of all the planned activities here at La Posada, my favorite is the Westside Walk every Thursday morning. A short bus ride along West Ciff Drive takes us to Lighthouse Field, where, for almost an hour we are free to do whatever we like, in peaceful surroundings.

There are paths leading in every direction. One path goes all around the lighthouse that for years warned passing ships of the perilous rocks nearby. No longer needed as a lighthouse, it has been converted to a surfing museum. Another path follows along Steamer Lane, where, if tides and waves are favorable, one can see surfers performing the incredible feats that have made the area internationally famous. Other paths lead into the rustic park or along the coast. Which path we choose, or how we proceed, is strictly up to us, just so we're back when the bus leaves for home at 9:50.

Some like to exercise vigorously, walking rapidly and breathing deeply of the clean sea air. Others prefer to stroll leisurely, watching the waves pound the cliffs or perhaps “lending an ear” to the barking of the sea lions on Seal Rock. If we do not feel like moving at all, there are benches along the Lighthouse path, each in memory of someone devoted to the area.

Perhaps, as we leave, we should think fondly of the intrepid individuals who, a few years a go, fought vigorously- and successfully- to save Lighthouse Field from the “progress” that would have turned this tranquil section of West Cliff Drive into a convention center, with the inevitable noise and confusion. Instead, as a part of the Park system, it remains a place to return week after week.

Thank you, Steve Carlson and companions, for a job well done!

 

MORE COLUMNS COMING SOON!

 

Back to Front Page