I handed her the phone and recited the number. My ten-year-old daughter, slightly unsteady with this foreign, cordless landline unit, dialed the digits. As I stepped away, I watched as she gripped her yellow pencil, straightened the papers on her clipboard. Outside, the sun had begun to set, but the sky had only become more radiant and beautiful as the day had grown older.
“Hi, Gram!” My daughter spoke clearly and audibly into the phone. She’s already doing great, I thought to myself. I had explained that if she wanted to interview my nearly 100-year-old grandmother, she would need to speak loudly. Gram’s hearing isn’t what it used to be.
My daughter’s assignment was entitled, “Interview a Woman in Your Life,” in honor of Women’s History Month. From across the room, I listened and watched as my daughter enthusiastically asked questions and jotted down responses.
Reading over my daughter’s paper later, after she had gone to sleep, I noticed some recurrent themes in Grammy’s answers: (1) Gram felt pride in her family. She’d raised three daughters, all of whom later became successful career women. (2) School and education mattered to her. This notion shone through in answers to multiple questions. School was important. She had always preached this message, even when I was young. And (3) She did not feel entirely comfortable with the vast changes in women’s roles over the last 100 years. Fair enough, I thought. Fair enough.
As I read through the interview questions and answers, I thought about how fortunate we are, for this opportunity to connect across so many generations is rare. Probably quite rare. Flipping to the last page, I read the final question my daughter had posed: “What advice would you give to young people?” My gram’s response:
- Learn to love with all your heart
- Get a good education
- Love children