The Savvy Grandmother Newsletter
Remembering HeroesSeptember 2011
In This Issue
A Room With A View
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A Touch of Humor
Remembering 9/11 - Meet Me In The Stairwell
A Living Monument
Remembering 9/11 - Get Your Flag Ready
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September 2011 is the month to remember - remembering Grandparents - remembering 9/11!
It is an unusual quirk of fate that these two celebrations coincide and overlap on September 11, a date that is imprinted on our hearts and minds forever.
The articles in this issue celebrate the heroes that we know as grandparents as well as the heroes of 9/11. As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I could think of no better theme for the September issue than remembering heroes.
Grandparents as heroes: In this issue we honor Savvy Grands, those grandparents that do extra "grand" things for those they love. That would be you, those who live lives of quiet faith, integrity, joy, courage and love, making a difference in the lives of family and others. Savvy grands make a difference in the world. As a gift, check out this link from my daughter-in-law Blythe, regarding the importance of Grandparents.


Since I am one, I'll discuss grandparents first. Did you know that since 1978 the second Sunday after Labor Day has been designated a secular holiday honoring Grandparent's?  This year it falls on September 11. As you know, grandparents are my heroes so I say hooray for setting aside a day for celebrating people that you and I already know are extraordinary! Of course that would be you and me. 
I also want to honor the heroes of 9/11. That would be those we saw and read about who showed integrity, love of country and love for their fellow man in the way they lived and died. I honor their sacrifice and celebrate the lives of those heroes who made a difference in our country and in the world.  

We will all watch and read about the 9/11 remembrances at Ground Zero. We will stand with heads bowed remembering where we were that day, what we were doing. We will never forget. I can still hear Lee Greenwood  singing "I'm Proud To Be An American" as we remembered our heroes. I'll always associate that song with that day. And I'll never forget the eagle as the symbol of our country, reminding me of their sacrifice.
eagle in cemetary

No one needs a history on 9/11, but a little history is in order for Grandparents' Day. I bet you didn't know that on September 6, 1979, Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation making the day official. I'm not sure it's caught on so far - but with exposure, I'm hoping to change that. In our own ways we, grandparents, are heroes too.
The origin and founder of the day is less clear, but there are two hypothesis which I place before you for your consideration: Go to
In any event the day is now a reality. And there is even an official flower- the forget me not - plus its own special song.  Not as moving as Lee Greenwood, but then I'll let you be the judge of that. Try the link below if you dare.  I would have chosen a different song, but it was not mine to choose. No one asked me.


Either way - I hope that this September 11, you have a great Grandparent's celebration and that you use the day to remember 9/11, why we're here and how important our country is. I pray that it is a special day for you on many levels and that you will remember the heroes now and those gone before that we honor this month.


Blessings and congratulations,


claire and bradA Room With A View


Meet Claire and Brad. Married on September 25, 2010, they are the perfect couple for this "heroes issue" of "The Savvy Grandmother Newsletter". About to celebrate their one-year anniversary, I think their message of hope is a perfect bridge from the tragedy of 9/11 to the joy of honoring grandparents. Their story reminds me that even in the midst of darkness, even when things seem impossible,
no one should ever give up.  Miracles still happen.

Claire and Brad are the mother and father of two really good friends, Barbara and Mary Ellen. They were introduced by their daughters in the spring of 2010 at lunch, hoping they could share their deep love of history and become friends.

Brad, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and a retired businessman in the food storage business, widowed in 2009 after almost 67 years of marriage, and Claire, a retired antique dealer who had never remarried after a divorce 45 years previously. were instantly taken with each other.

At the lunch Claire gifted Brad with a book on local history. Brad says that when he first saw her he thought, "She has such a pretty face. This one, I'd like to get to know better."  Later. when she grabbed his hand and told him it was so good to have had lunch with him, he knew he was in love.

Brad 93 and Claire 83 have a huge legacy between them. Combining 7 children, 17 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren, Brad says, "We just fit."

Their story is even more remarkable as Claire was diagnosed in 2005 with Dementia and Alzheimers.  In the winter of 2007, she almost died twice, four months apart. She reports that at that time she had a vision or dream that she was walking down a beautiful road to a bright light.  A figure was standing in the light and said, "Stop.  You must go back."

"I don't want to go back," she replied.

But she was told, "You must. I still have things for you to do."

Until she met Brad the dream had always bothered her.

Today, they are like teenagers, wildly in love. She has no sign of ALzeimer's and they enjoy going out to dinner, reading, watching TV and sharing history. They've adopted each other's passions as well as an orange cat named Tiger. He's introduced her to sports on TV and she has him watching the Antique Road Show on cable. Tiger often joins in as he loves to sit between them on the sofa. 

"They are really touchy," Barbara says.  "She's always there right next to him, and they hold hands all the time. It's just precious."

Their story has touched many. When I asked Mary Ellen whiy she thinks her mom did not die in 2007 she answers,  " God had a plan. I suppose he knew that they would marry and their union would bring a sense of wholeness, healing and fulfillment to both family lines."

Barbara adds, "It has brought so much joy to our family to see Daddy happy. He was so sad and lonely and now he has so much joy."

What Brad and Claire's story tells me is that hope lives eternal. God is always working. No matter the circumstance there is always a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Even when something looks beyond hope even in the midst of horrific circumstances, good can come from tragedy. Darkness isn't the end. Light always prevails. 

As I see it, no one but God could have dreamed or brought this beautiful union into being. It just goes to show - we never know.

graduation cap and scroll         Honoring Rose               


The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being..

She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?'

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze..

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked.

She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!
There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets..'

She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.



We make a Living by what we get.

We make a Life by what we give.


God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.


'Good friends are like stars..... ....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.'


old car 2This Could Be You!

Sent to me by my good friend Carole, I thought this was great. Isn't this just like a grandmother - taking care of business, being a good steward of what we are given.  A great lesson to pass down to our grandchildren.




granny in carA Touch of Humor ....

...Using the age card!


Just in case you are wondering. Once you've turned 60, some people have been known to use the "age card", especially in emergencies and/or for technological gadgets and problems.  Here is a "politically correct" example of an emergency where the "age card" is appropriate. 


                     BEST SPEEDING EXCUSE EVER!


When asked by a young patrol officer,


"Do You know you were speeding?"

This 83-year-old woman gave the young officer an ear to ear smile and stated:

"Yes , but .... I had to get there before I forgot where I was going."

The officer put his ticket book away and bid her good day.

Makes perfectly good sense to me.










  9 11 5    9 11 firefighters




You say you will never forget where you were when
you heard the news On September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the
peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it
is OK..I am ready to go.'

I was with his wife when he called as she fed
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized
he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a
woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said.
'Of course I will show you the way home - only
believe in Me now.'

I was at the base of the building with the Priest
ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He
heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat,
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan .
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew
every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me
for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the
smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take
my hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You
may not know why, but I do.. However, if you were
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have
reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey
for you . But someday your journey will end. And I
will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may
be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are
'ready to go.'

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.



9 11 4 

uss new yorkA Living Monument ... 



USS New York
It was built with 24 tons of
scrap steel from the
World Trade Center .

It is the fifth in a new class of warship -
designed for missions that include special
operations against terrorists It will carry a
crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines
to be delivered ashore by helicopters and
assault craft.

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted
down in a foundry in Amite , LA to
cast the ship's bow section. When it was poured
into the molds on Sept 9, 2003, 'those big rough
steelworkers treated it with total reverence,'
recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there.

'It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.'

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that
when the trade center steel first arrived, he
touched it with his hand and the 'hair on my
neck stood up.' 'It had a big meaning to it for
all of us,' he said. 'They knocked us down. They
can't keep us down. We're going to be back.'

The ship's motto?

'Never Forget' 
american flagRemembering 9/11 


Please join us in this FLY THE FLAG campaign and PLEASE forward this email
to your friends and family asking them to also forward it.
On Sunday, September 11th, 2011, an American flag should be displayed
outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States.
Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this
tenth anniversary of one our country's worst tragedies. We do this in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it
shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

Action Plan:
So, here's what we need you to do ...
(1) Forward this email to everyone you know

(2) Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11.

God Bless You and God Bless America!

question marksThoughts To Ponder


With all that we see in the world - all the good and evil we encounter on a daily basis, from 9/11 to the joys of being a grandparent, this will give you something to ponder. This is what our grandkids will be living with.  How will we adjust to such a world?

polaroidA Touch Of Humor


As always, we end with a touch of humor. For a sense of humor can get us through much. Sent by one of my "savvy Grandfather" readers, I had a great chuckle when I saw this. I hope it will brighten your day too.  So in closing, remember to remember, but most of all remember to laugh.


BLessings and love,