In case you’ve missed the latest from HC and JB, we’ve been busy celebrating this past weekend. Our granny turned 102! That’s right…let that soak in…one hundred and two years.
My grandmother, Ella Estelle Edmondson Loy, was born on January 8, 1914, the middle child in a family of three girls. She grew up to be a school teacher, teaching grades first through eighth grade in a one room schoolhouse in Maynardville, Tennessee. She went to school and completed her college education when that just wasn’t something women did. She walked to the University of Tennessee, across the Henley Street Bridge, and finally completed her degree at Lincoln Memorial University.
She didn’t marry until she was later in life, in her 30’s, having her kids (twins) when she was 32. Again, something unheard of for her generation when women were birthing babies by 17 and 18.
Ella Estelle married my grandfather, Coram Loy, a man who was several years her elder, and who himself was quite accompished, having graduated with a Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee, specializing in agricultural education. He started the agricultural edcuation program at Horace Maynard High School (now Union County High School) and operated his own insurance company. He purchased and operated a large farm in Union County that’s still there today and where my grandmother resided in her own home until age 99.
The legacy of Ella Estelle Edmondson Loy is rich in Union County. From generation to generation, she has educated the masses, either in a classroom or in Sunday School.
I don’t have to ever wonder where my grandmother will be when she crosses to the other side. She has earned the crown of gold. The crown of goodness for a life well-lived, a life well-done.
No matter how long a person lives, you still dread the day when you have to say goodbye. I am selfish, and truly want my grandmother to be in my life forever, until I too am ready to part this world. But, I know that’s not possible, not reality.
My grandmother’s mother, my great granny, Grandma Ebbie as we called her (Dora Edmondson) lived herself to be 102. She passed away in 1995 and she was the first and only person I ever saw die.
I was on my way to the hospital that April day to relieve my mother from bedside duty. My great grandmother had been hospitalized with pneumonia at St. Mary’s. In the days before cell phones, my Mom could not get in touch with me to tell me not to come because my great grandmother was in the process of dying.
But, I showed up and was faced with the choice of going or staying. I chose to stay in the room, with my mom, my grandmother and my great aunts and watched my great grandmother take her last breathe.
When she passed, I ran down the hallway to the nurses’ station and yelled for help. The nurse finally came and pronounced her dead and said, “she’s lived a long life.”
Yes, she had…a very long life. But we grieved just the same, no matter the years.
I celebrate my grandmother’s turning of 102, but I am wise to the fact that time is fleeting.
The older I get the more I realize I am a lot like my grandmother. I’ve never followed a path that people expected, never chose the easiest path but I have chosen my path. Just as Ella Estelle Edmondson did.