Friday, January 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Yesterday was John's grandma's 100th birthday, and she got her wish- a ride on my father-in-law's Harley! I was verklempt all day yesterday, thinking about what a wonderful, active, fulfilling life she's had and what a truly incredible woman she is. Last summer, at 99, she was still playing on the floor with Brent. Crawling around furniture, playing hide-and-seek with him. She challenged him to a "foot race", and played soccer with him in the yard. She's so full of laughter and smiles and she enjoys life to the fullest. She's an inspiration to anyone who meets her. Below is a newspaper article and picture of her motorcycle ride. Okay, the picture is right here, cuz I'm challenged and can't get it in the right spot :-)

Jan 20, 2006
Born To Be WildBy MICAH

Brick MacLaren said he would take his mother-in-law, Bertha Hendershot, for a ride on his Harley when she turned 100 years old. He went through with his promise on Thursday.SEBRING — Bertha Hendershot got the ride of her life on her 100th birthday.

Instead of celebrating her newfound centenarian status eating cake or having a birthday party, “Big Mama Bertha” spent it in fashion – on a Harley-Davidson.
“I hope it doesn’t spoil my hair-do,” Hendershot quipped, as her son-in-law, Brick MacLaren, helped her onto the back of his motorcycle.

After taking a few minutes to get adjusted, she gave her son-in-law the thumbs up. He then proceeded to hop in front of her, yelling aloud, “Now hold onto my love handles.”

About 30 friends and family members were on hand to witness the spectacle in Spring Lake on Thursday.

During her cruise around the neighborhood, Hendershot wore a present her son-in-law’s family sent her for the big ride. A T-shirt that read: “Big Mama Bertha 100” and a hat that said, “Life is Good.”

But the big birthday present – the chance to ride the motorcycle – came from a promise her son-in-law made a few years back.

“Every time I went golfing, she would tease me about taking my motorcycle for a drive when I was gone,” Brick MacLaren said. “I told her that when she turned 100, I would take her for a ride.”

“I didn’t expect her to remember,” he added.

But most family members weren’t surprised when Hendershot agreed to ride the motorcycle. They said Hendershot has always remained active in her older years.

Her daughter, Jane MacLaren, said when her mother was 96 she walked on stilts and even shot a bow and arrow when she was 98.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Jane MacLaren said. “I hope to pick up my mom’s traits.”

She said her mother is a resilient, vivid person, always game to try anything new.

Her mother even maintained her driver’s license until she was 94 years old. She said it was taken away after she received a second speeding ticket for going 10 mph over the speed limit.

“That was a sad day,” Hendershot remembered.
Hendershot grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she was the oldest of 10 children in her family.

“I can remember hitching a ride on a hay truck, which would save me from walking about a mile and a half to school,” Hendershot said.
After high school, Hendershot got a job teaching. She said it upset her when she had to retire from teaching about 40 years later.

Hendershot remained in Michigan until 2003, when she decided to move into a retirement home in Sebring to be closer to family.

“Some days I feel like I am 100. No I don’t really,” Hendershot said. “I can still walk around and enjoy things. I definitely enjoy eating chocolate chip cookies.”
As Hendershot celebrates her centennial birthday, her family members cherish her presence and recognize her as a hard-working, strong-willed, excellent mother of two, grandmother to two and great-grandmother to four. Her daughter sums up her mother’s best quality in two words: staying active.
Her daughter said the only difficulty was finding a birthday card that said “Happy 100th birthday.” She said the next birthday will be even more challenging.

Hendershot said her next milestone is to be 105 years old. And who knows what’s in store at that party? One suggestion by her son-in-law: skydiving.

I also want to add that Brick's sisters put an article in the Alma newspaper (where Grandma lived all of her adult life and taught for so many years) about her birthday and an address for people to send cards. She got over 100 cards; 70 of them were from former students, telling her what an impact she had on their lives. How absolutely wonderful is that? Happy Birthday, Grandma! We love you very much.


Anna said...

That's Awesome! Way to go Grandma!

mw said...

She the little old lady from pasedina...go granny go granny go granny go!

Jen said...

That truly is remarkable. And I hope, when I'm 100, that that many of my students will still remember ME.

Renee said...

I could make a comment about your smoking and asthma not allowing you to live to 100, but I won't

keesh said...


keesh said...

Nee - GOOD ONE, on the smoking and 100 thing. HA.

Jen - I have invited about 3 people to the thing on the 4th, I think 2 of them are in. Cool dogs? Yes, they are of age dumb butt :)

LoraLoo said...

What a GREAT story, thanks for sharing it.

Go go Grandma!

John Cowart said...

Waht a nice tribute to Grandma Bertha.

Jen said...

Yeah, that's cool, Kish. I look forward to meeting them!

Renee said...

Thanks, everyone, for the wishes for "my" grandma :-)

Fred said...

Wow - 100! That's amazing. Happy Birthday, Grandma!

LocuTus of Borg said...

Being a motorcycle rider .... AWESOME!!! Now she needs to come take a ride on my sport bike ;)

Renee said...

LOL. I don't think she'd go for that, LoB. But she surprises us all the time, so who knows :-)

Anna said...

lol Renee!

Nik said...

If I live to be that old, I could only hope to be like granny here.

Renee said...

I know. She's awesome :-) But honestly, I don't really care to live to 100, I don't think...