Saturday, January 21, 2017

Local Saturday - Human Wormholes

The woman pictured below was born five years before women got the right to vote, in 1917.  What better woman to write about, on this special day in the United States?

This post was originally written in 2014.  What I didn't know, at the time, is that someone had written a detailed article about the woman in this picture, who turns 105 this month.

Yes...105.  And her life has been a most fascinating one.

She is also my spouse's aunt.

Many things have changed since my original post.  Later in 2014, after this post was written, this 102 year old woman fell, broke her hip, and underwent a partial hip replacement.  Although she survived the surgery, and she remains mentally sharp, her health never totally recovered.  She rarely leaves the house now.  I wish I could give you, my readers, a happier report but, as they say, "it is what it is".

Won't you comment below, and wish my spouse's aunt a Happy 105th Birthday?

Come, now, to happier days when I blogged about "Human Wormholes".
She is what some call a human wormhole.  And I hope she'll forgive me for saying so, because she knows I love her very much.  It's not the most elegant name, the "human wormhole" but if you think about it a little, the name is a bit catchy.

Yes, I know she looks like a woman of a certain age.  To be exact, she's 102 years old.  But she's so much more.  She's a treasured relative in my spouse's family.

She is a link to the past.  She may be physically frail, but her mind is as sharp as the day she was born. Maybe even sharper.

She's a living link to the past, the past that, for all but a handful of us, exists only in textbooks.  When I touch her, when I talk to her, I am touching history.

She was alive when the Titanic made its maiden voyage (1912).

She was alive when our country enacted a constitutional amendment permitting the income tax (1913).

She was alive during the post World War I flu epidemic (1918-1919) and vaguely remembers wagons traveling from house to house where needed to pick up the dead (what a childhood memory).

We are fascinated by human wormholes.  I've blogged about some of them myself, from the living grandson of a U.S. President who served from 1841 to 1845 to a man who witnessed Lincoln's 1865 assassination and lived to tell the story on a late night game show in 1956.

One story has an interesting twist.  It is said that Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who fought in the Civil War, shook hands with both former President John Quincy Adams (born in 1767) and a young/future President John J Kennedy (whose life was cut short by assassination in 1963).  I can not find any firm evidence for this having actually happened (there is a fascinating discussion online about whether it might have been possible, though). However, Holmes did have a link to more than just the Civil War, where it is said he once saved Lincoln's life.

Holmes, who lived from 1841 to 1937, had fond memories of his grandmother, who could remember red coated English troops marching through the streets of Boston at the beginning of our Revolutionary War. When she was five. In 1776.

If I live long enough, I might be a human wormhole, too.  I don't know if that makes me happy - or scares me a little.

Do you know anyone who would qualify as a human wormhole?

Day 21 of #blogboost The Ultimate Blog Challenge.


  1. This is a wonderful article. We have so much that we can learn from our revered elders. My mother passed away on Nov. 29, 2016 at age 97 (born in 1919). She was a Hillary supporter during the recent election. She was disappointed when a woman did not make it to the White House. Things had changed so much during my mom's lifetime. She would have been very pleased to live to see a woman president.

    1. I suspect my Mom, who was born about 14 months before your Mom, would have been delighted, too. It's sobering to realize that, when my Mom was born in 1918, that women had just received the right to vote in her native New York State. Alana

  2. Yes Happy Birthday to her!!My Dad is a human wormhole also. He is 89 years old. In the town where he lived as a young boy he knew an elderly Civil War veteran. His mother had a face to face encounter with Jesse James.

  3. Wish her a very Happy birthday. My mother-in-law lived to 96. Her body gave out while her mind was super sharp.

    1. I suspect my husband's aunt will go the same way, Denise.

  4. Happy Birthday to your husband's aunt! I know a few people who could be called human wormholes, though I used to know a lot more when I worked at a nursing home!

  5. Though the term is not endearing for sure, the entire article is. Thank you for sharing it from a real life perspective as you know someone personally. I am in love with the way you have documented Her memories in this post. I wonder how she has coped with the changing times n societal norms? It must be so confusing n unnecessary from her viewpoint. How does she view our world today with how she knew it as?
    Alana I must commend you on your choice of blog content - your human stories have me hooked.

  6. It is amazing to think about who my grandparents came into contact with in their long lives. They knew people who fought in the civil war and perhaps even met former slaves. Just fascinating. Great post.

  7. I don't know if I like that term, for when I think of wormholes, I think of traveling in time or space. But it is kind of amazing to talk to people who lived in such distant times.

  8. My parents were born in 1908 and 1912 and lived into their 90's, both very mentally alert and full of fascinating stories about the past. One of my father's memories is of holidaying on the Scottish islands and having stones thrown at his car by children who had never seen a car before!
    When I see old film of my childhood in Britain in the early 40's it looks like another world.


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