My grandmother died this morning. She was 100 years old and had a really wonderful, long and happy life.
She was born in 1905 in Shanendoah, Iowa. Her father died when she was five years old, from cholera, so she and her brother and sister were raised by their mother. It can't have been easy, at that time, to have three small children to provide for, but she took in boarders and managed. My grandmother was able to go to college and get a teaching degree.
She met my grandfather at the University of Wyoming in 1930 or '31. He was from Peru and at the university studying civil engineering. They soon married, but becaus she was a teacher, they couldn't tell anyone. Since it was 1931 and the middle of the Great Depression, he couldn't find work here, so he went back to Peru. At the end of that school year, she left Iowa, by herself, and travelled by train to Los Angeles and then on by boat to Peru. They lived there for quite a few years - my father was born there in 1937.
They went on to live in Panama, Greece, Spain and even Bergenfield, New Jersey.
She had so many great stories to tell. I didn't get to grow up with her living close by us, but she moved here in 1998, after my grandfather died, and I spent a lot of time with her over these last years. I have some great photographs of her that I'm going to scan in and will post here later tonight.
While it's sad that she's gone, and I will miss her, I'm glad that she's out of pain and died quickly and peacefully in her sleep.