Happy 97th Birthday, Nan!

Today Nan would have been 97. It’s crazy that her last birthday was eight years ago, on Friday, 4 May 2012, when she turned 89.

Nan taught me kindness and that all humans are more similar than we are different. She taught me that at the end of the day, we all bleed, we all breathe, we need food, water, and shelter and we all feel joy and pain. I was always a sensitive child and tended to empathize with others, she told me to embrace it. Nan taught me the importance of sharing as well.

She housed Daniel, a foreign exchange student, and when she was a crossing guard for Caley, all the kids and parents loved her. I have to find the photo that one of the moms took of Nan with her daughter. Nan watched after them, like she watched after me. Before she retired, a month before she died, the parents and kids gave her a Pandora charm bracelet with a boy, a girl, and a school bus. After she died, all the kids came to her funeral.

In June 2010, I had a little party for Chris’s graduation from college, Claire’s 21st birthday and for the upcoming summer. I invited Mohamed, his wife Samira and their two kids. Nan participated in our games, but she also took the kids downstairs and played with them for a bit. Samira told me afterward that this was the first time in her life that she ever felt welcomed somewhere and that her kids felt welcomed too. They are Muslim and were used to hatred. They didn’t find that in Nan and her children absolutely adored Nan, Nan adored her two children too.

My great uncle, her youngest brother, personally knew Trump. Uncle Joe was a business man and had his own sock business. When he was in New York, he did some business with him. Uncle Joe always said he was a gruff crook (sadly, Uncle Joe passed away on Trump’s inauguration day). I don’t think Nan liked Trump either, and I know she would be appalled with his presidency.

I try to spread the kindness Nan taught me because the world needs the kindness she taught me while growing up. I feel like the Silent Generation can teach us a lot, especially with how we treat one another.



Happy birthday, Nan! Thank you for all that you did during your time on this Earth. You will never be forgotten; love and miss you.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “Happy 97th Birthday, Nan!”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Happy birthday in heaven to your guiding light, your wonderful Nan! As you have seen on my blog, the birthday numbers become hard to comprehend when they reach triple figures as they have for John & Helen Ettline and Margaret Schneider and for my late mother and dad. The same will happen soon with Nan. Nan was an outstanding citizen, the kind of person the world needs more of, and needs urgently. She was a wise woman who helped bring out the best in you and shape you into the caring, open-minded person you are today. Thanks for sharing that Nan was a school crossing guard, loved by students and parents. In an age when so many are sowing seeds of hate, Nan sowed seeds of love. Yessum, we certainly can learn a lot from members of The Silent Generation, their numbers dwindling down to precious few. That’s a wonderful picture of you and Nan. Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” is a great way to wrap up this tribute to a fine woman who exerted a powerful influence on you, your much loved, dearly departed Nan. You are lucky to have had her in your life.

    Have a peaceful week, dear friend JM!


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