Friday, May 22, 2009

Road Trip Diary Day 8 - May's Day

The tipping point for me to go on this road trip was my great aunt's (May Bowman) 100th birthday. She may not actually be my great aunt but I think she's my mom's aunt so I'm not sure where I fit into her picture, although I've always called her "Aunt.". I know May's dad died in a polo accident in California when she was young and she was raised in my mom's home by my mom's grandmother. Something like that but it's a complicated scenario of relatives.

I've always loved May. When I was a little kid we used to visit her in High River (she still lives there today). My favorite thing was hanging out at the general store that she and her husband Joe owned. I still have a pair of moccasins I bought there that were made by their neighboring Indian tribe.

May is the first relative that has turned 100 years old...actually the first person I've personally known to turn 100. And what's even more amazing is that she stills lives on her own and takes care of herself. No roommates, no nurses...just friends who stop by every day. She's sharp as a tack and still has every inch of her faculties. My niece stopped by her table to say hi and probably hadn't seen her in quite a while. The first thing May said to her is "What happened to your blonde hair?" My niece had colored her hair darker.

I hadn't seen her in several years and she knew exactly who I was and I mentioned that I hadn't known her dad had died when she was young. She immediately commented that had he lived she probably would have ended up living in California where I live.

I'm also proud to say that May served as a nurse in both world wars and received several medals.

Here's a few photos I took at the party:

This is the saddle May rode with when she was six (1915 and on).

This is the area where she grew up and still lives today.

I love old pictures... these were some on display at the party:

May's mom.

May's great grandmother.

May's grandparents.

May's boots (which she probably still wears).

Turning 100 brings on the accolades:

From the Governor General of Canada.

From the Prime Minister of Canada.

From the Premier of Alberta.

Cutting the cake.

A few quick portraits I shot:

A true beauty.


...and talking with friends.

Going home.

It was so great to be there and have a visit (although too short) with one of my favorites. I look forward to many future birthdays with her.


Steve B said...

How cool that you got to celebrate that milestone with her! A friend of mine sat down with her Grandpa and a video camera, and just had him telling stories about his life. Family history can be so interesting! Congrats to her!

Chesher Cat said...

I should do that with her. Some of the parts of her life I do know about are pretty dramatic.