My family and I at my grandmother’s 100th birthday party.
In 1909 Theadore Roosevelt retired from the Presidency and was succeeded by William Howard Taft, the 27th U’S. President. In 1909 the U.S. flag proudly waved with 45 stars. John F. Kennedy would not be born for another 8 years. In 1909 the New York Yankees had not yet won the first of their 27 World Series titles and it would be another 6 years before Babe Ruth would hit his first homerun. Arkansas had half the population that it has today, and in Siloam Springs Arkansas my grandmother was born on a Sunday morning in a tent during a storm on November 7, 1909.
Last Sunday my family and I paid tribute to my Grandmother, Ruth Holzkamper and her 100th birthday! While my grandmother is responsible for five children, 16 grand children and I don’t know how many great and great great grand children, the greatest legacy she has given us is the legacy of love. My grandmother’s first husband died and she remarried. Her new husband, Robert Holzkamper (deceased), had children of his own too. Growing up I did not realize that half of my family was not all blood related. We did not hear of step children or step family members, it was all just family. I remember as a child watching my grandmother cry her heart out over the welfare of a family member only to grow up later and realize there was no blood relation between her and them. My grandmother loves to have fun. I remember her playing football with us in her 50’s. She loves to play cards and table games and the thing that amazes me is she is always learning new games! Every time I come to see her she wants to teach me a new game. Even at 100 this woman does not live in the past! I am always saying, “Grandma why don’t we just play a game we already know” and she will respond something like, “but this new game is so much fun!” And she will teach me the new game.
Grandma Ruth was raised a third generation Seventh-day Adventist Christian. A lot of her family is still Adventist today, but more importantly most of them have a relationship with Jesus in a church they are comfortable in. Growing up I always wanted a career in the ministry but Grandma always reminded me that labels don’t matter. It is what is in the heart. I remember her telling me more than once, “Be like Joseph. Leave your coat and flee if you have to.” So far I have never had to. :)
By the way Grandma has a brother buried in South Africa who died as a child while her parents were missionaries. Various members of my family have served and are currently serving as missionaries practically all over the world. My grandmother’s parents were married in the home of Uriah Smith, in Battle Creek Michigan before becoming missionaries.
I have learned so much from my grandmother over the years, but here I have tried to condense it into a top ten list.
Top Ten Things I Have Learned From Grandma Holzkapmer
10. Its good to be funny but don’t be silly. That’s just silly.
9. Get up early, work hard, but don’t forget to take your lemonade break on the front porch around 10:30am. Good memories, them front porch breaks.
8. You are very special but then again so is everyone else. We are all special.
7. Macaroni and cheese is so much better with lots and lots of pepper. (No hate mail from health fanatics please.)
6. Grandchildren can help themselves to the cookie jar and anything else they want anytime they want. I was so embarrassed the first time I learned this rule does not stand at everyone else’s home.
5. It’s a huge family. Some days it may be all about you. Other days it may not be about you at all. Refer to number 8.
4. You give everything you have for family, and everyone you know is family.
3. Luke and Laura made it because they had love. It just takes lots of love.
2. If you cheat in a game of Uno grandma may not catch you, but God will know. (Leaving me to assume you go to hell for cheating grandma at Uno, though it was never actually said.)
1. While we all have fun we must also remain very respectful. After all your family members would give their life for you, and you never disrespect someone who loves you so much they would give their life for you.
Happy 100th Grandma! And many many more!!!
This photo must have been taken around 1910 or so. Grandma Ruth is sitting in her mother’s lap on their front porch I assume.