My grandmother will tell anyone who asks her that she’s 90. This is, of course, a new development. When I was a teenager and responded accurately when people asked me how old I was, Grandmother told me a lady never reveals her true age. Three months ago, we thought Grandmother was 85. Maybe 87. Until someone went digging around and dug up the beautiful truth. My grandmother is 90, relatively healthy, bright and sharp and living well. What a cause for celebration.
This is not irrelevant. This should not be brushed over. This need not be hushed up. This has everything to do with writing, with who I am and how I can describe the world. This is not a little thing to be ignored and then forgotten. This is the little thing that is everything. This means she has experienced 90 years of conflicts and connections. This means she married (and everything that means), had children (and everything that means), had a career (and all that entails), and all her avocations. 90 years of dining room tables set always for unexpected company. 90 years of sermons. 90 years of music. 90 years of reading, sorting, touching, teaching, living in books. 90 years of little stories, maybe 3 more than we thought, even 5. This means there is plenty still to write about. We ought to go right ahead and tell the world about this. This means she has lived.