Aunt Ruth, by Lorie Sheffer Guest blogger

Aunt Ruth and her husband, 1930's, possibly at Longwood Gardens (PA)
Aunt Ruth and her husband, 1930’s, possibly at Longwood Gardens (PA)

When Jeff Noel and Lorie Gotwalt first became acquainted on the playground of Thomasville Elementary, the year was 1965 and she was 54 years old. One year older than Jeff and I are today.

The year she was born, King George V – the father of King George VI, who was portrayed in The King’s Speech- ruled England.

Penicillin was not to be discovered for another 17 years, or be used to treat bacterial infections for almost 30 years.

The first Indianapolis 500 was held with the winning car reaching an average speed of 74.56 MPH.

Her life spanned airmail through email.

The median household income was $520.00 a year. Milk sold for  $.17 a gallon and a new car cost about $750.00. This was also the time Louis Chevrolet opened his car company and the first public elevator went into use in London, England. Crisco shortening was being introduced to home cooks, and the US Navy acquired its first airplane.

California became the 6th state out in the US to grant women the right to vote, with hopes that the rest of the 40 states would soon follow.

She was born when William Taft was President, and she lived through the Administrations of Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W.Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

She lived through two World Wars, a Cold War, a Forgotten War, the Vietnam War, Gulf War and War on Terror. She experienced The Great Depression, several recessions, saw people march for civil rights, and tuned in to the TV coverage of the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, Jr. She read of and listened to her radio, for updates on the attacks on Pearl Harbor and watched TV to see in real time as the terror of September 11th unfolded.

She was able to recall a time when people dressed like the characters on Downton Abbey, and also remember what a man wore to walk on the moon.

In her life, she married and had two daughters and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. She loved animals, and always had pets in the house. She was a wonderful cook and had an amazing sense of humor. If not for the fact that she had passed the century mark with her mind still intact and her wit as sharp as ever, she would have passed through this world as just another ordinary housewife and mother.

She will be laid to rest today. For the first time in 102 years, the world will go on without her.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.