Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MY Grandmother's Birthday

It's MLK weekend and I ask my students if they were going anywhere. A few said they were going to Vermont. I said, "So am I. I'm going to visit my grandmother."  One student said," YOUR grandmother?" I said, " Yes, MY grandmother." Again, "No, YOUR grandmother?" Me, "Yes, MY grandmother. She is still alive.  She is turning 94 years old." Student, "Oh, I don't have any grandparents alive."  I had to pick up a prescription for her.  She was born in 1923!
   I know I am blessed. We call her Mamie. She is my mom's mom. She had 10 kids, lost one baby early in life. She was a maternity nurse for 50 years! She is hard a rock and my hero! I may be off on my numbers here but it is too early for me to run through the cousins but on last count, I think she has 33 grandkids and 25 great grandkids so far.
  She lives in an awesome old farm house outside Burlington, VT and we grew up coming her for every 4th of July because it was my grandparents anniversary and every Christmas. Now we come up in January for her birthday and still for July 4th and if someone gets married. I am so happy my kids get to do what I got to do as kids. I had lots of cousins to run around with and now they do, too.
   Do you know what a "church key" is? It's how you still get into her house!  It looks like this:
   And, a dinner bell, yep, we would be off playing and we better come running when we heard the bell ring!  As I took the picture, I think "it sure looked much bigger growing up".

  My youngest Aunt and her son, my cousin live with Mamie and take care of her. So if you don't believe I have a a grandmother, how about this, my cousin is 14 years old. He raises chickens, turkeys, and cows here on the property. Right now he has 2 cows named Prime and Rib.

   Two weeks ago, Mamie had a stroke. Remember I told she is one tough cookie. She already came home last Saturday! She still lives at home with the help of my aunt. Again, we know we are blessed.
   I was sitting with her yesterday and decided since I really liked interviewing my student teacher, I would interview my grandmother. I had to talk slowly, loudly, and keep the answers so they could be short, but she did great:

Me: "Do you remember math class in high school."
Mamie: looking very confused
Me: "High school math class. It was only about 80 years ago."
Mamie: "Oh, OK."
Me: "Where did you go to high school?"
Mamie: "a Catholic school in Montpelier."
Me: "How many people were in your math class?"
Mamie: "About 20."
Me: "Did you have boys and girls in your class?"
Mamie: "Oh, yes."
Me: "Did you like math?"
Mamie: "Yes"
Me: "Did you use paper or chalk?"
Mamie: "Paper."
Me: jokingly, "Did you use calculators?"
Mamie with a chuckle: "Oh, no."
Me: "Did you use math in your line of work?"
Mamie: "A lot."

And that was enough. It really warmed my heart for two reasons:

1.) She didn't jump in right away and say the normal response of something like, "yuck, math!"
2.) She actually liked math, you go girl!!!

Shout out to Tracy Zager and her new math book "Becoming The Math Teacher You Wished You'd Had" because she opens the book with a discussion with her mom and math. I'm glad I got the chance to ask! Thanks Tracy!

Here's a picture of me, Mamie, and my mom.
Here are some of us at her 94th birthday celebration!!!


  1. Mamie is 94? She looks so lively. And what a beautiful family photo. Thanks for sharing. You've encouraged me to ask my grandparents (77 and 82) about their school maths experiences. I'm surprised that I never thought of it before; thanks!

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