Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tribute to a Human Wormhole

It's been over two weeks now since my spouse's aunt passed away at the age of 107.  This aunt was born near New York City in 1912.  In some blog posts I called her a "human wormhole", a term I did not coin.

Here's a sample of life (and music) in 1912.

When my aunt-in-law was born:

Women in her native New York State had not yet won the right to vote.
The Titanic had not yet sunk.
The world had never fought a world war.
Kellogg's Shredded Wheat Cereal was brand new.
The electric traffic light had not yet been invented (that came later in 1912).
The first commercial radio broadcast had not yet been made.
Fenway Park was getting ready to open.

Just think of the many things she lived through which might have been thought of as "science fiction" when she was born.

Horses being replaced by motorized vehicles 
World Wars I, II, and the Cold War.
Transcontinental phone calls.
The popularizing of air travel.
Organ transplants
Humankind going into space.
Radio, TV, the Internet.
Cell and smartphones.

As a child, the city she spent all her life in had many rural spaces.  Horse drawn wagons would come and deliver live chickens to the housewife.  She picked edible greens such as violets and dandelions from the side of the road.  She also showed musical talent early in life.  She had some vague memories of the 1918 "Spanish" flu pandemic that killed up to 50 million people world wide. As an adult, her interests were wide, her curiosity was boundless, and she even traveled on her own (to see a sister in the Western United States) occasionally, into her 80's.

As a young adult, this woman would walk for miles.  She worked in a factory during World War II, helping to manufacture bomb sights. 
She crocheted, and made beaded flowers. 

The last time we saw her, in March, this woman who used to walk up to 18 miles in a day and ate with the heartiest of appetites could not get out of bed or feed herself without help. 

I don't know if this remarkable woman, who loved opera and a good discussion (she kept track of current events until relatively recently) ever used the Internet.  But she did many things women could only have dreamed of doing when she was born in 1912.

Goodbye.  Our world will not be the same without you.


  1. Thanks for the walk down memory (not mine!) lane.

  2. she sounds like an amazing woman. I know you'll miss her terribly. Sorry for your loss.

  3. The changes in her lifetime... The changes in your lifetime, if you think about it. It seems normal to you as it's just how things evolved, but you've lived through a lot, too.

  4. I recall having conversation with one my cousin. We were talking about my grandma who travel around in horse buggy and then fly on set to see her brother.
    Coffee is on


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