Women of Achievement is our theme this month. I sat down to think about women I admire, and I couldn’t get past my grandma. Lillian Watson is 95 years old, an achievement in itself! But what makes her remarkable isn’t her age, but the way she attacks life with both grace and tenacity.
Lillian was born in 1915 in Washington State to a working class family. She was very bright and valued education, entering college at the age of 16 and working for her room and board. She graduated a three year course with a teaching credential and married my grandfather in 1937. Over the years, my grandma raised my mom, survived the loss of her second daughter, taught school, and spent many years as a farmer’s wife. The work involved in that alone was a full time job!
She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1953, the first of our family to do so. In 1964 she was chosen by the California Classroom Teacher’s Association to represent California at a conference in Washington DC. What is remarkable about my grandma is her effect on people. Several of her students (she taught 1st grade) stayed in touch with her for many years. She made a lasting impression on their lives.
Lately her health has been shaky, and she’s been in and out of the hospital a few times. The nurses greet her with hugs. Grandma is a trooper. She grits her teeth and fights back. Though getting around is painful, she powers through her therapy each and every time. At 95, she maintains her independence, living alone in an apartment not far from my mom, refusing to give in and move to “one of those homes.”
Lillian is still as bright as ever, beating us all in cards, reading voraciously, and earning the love and respect of everyone with whom she comes in contact. When I’m 95, I want to be just like my grandma! Is there someone special in your family you admire? Let’s hear about them!
For more information on me and my books, check my website at www.janninegallant.com. My grandma is my biggest supporter, mailing copies of my book to everyone she knows, whether they want them or not. One of these days I may have to write her story!