Tomorrow my Grandma, Irene Orndorff, will turn 90 years old. Yesterday, our family celebrated her birthday in Strasburg, VA. Over 200 invitations were sent out. I didn’t count how many people where there, but as you can see in this photo (which doesn’t include everyone), there was a very good turn-out.
Of course, what else would you expect when you are celebrating the birthday of a woman who has spent 90 years in the same community, living, loving, and helping those around her. My grandmother has 7 children, 5 boys and 2 girls, all of who are still alive and kicking. She has 16 grandchildren if my count is right. And I couldn’t begin to tell you how many great-grandchildren, and I think there may be one or two great, great-grandchildren.
Part of the decor for the party was a big board of photos of my grandmother and her family. Check them out!
My grandma is the cute little girl front left. She and my Aunt Bethel really show the Native American heritage that was passed down from their mother.
Here Grandma and Granddaddy are being pestered while courting, by my grandma’s younger brother, Kenneth.
My Grandma as a young woman.
Uncle Bobby, Uncle Jimmy, Granddaddy
Aunt Patsy, Grandma
Uncle Doug, Dad, Uncle Roger
Uncle Doug, Uncle Bobby, Uncle Jimmy, Dad, Uncle Roger
Aunt Brenda, Aunt Patsy, Grandma
Grandma gets her diploma
Even President Obama sent greetings for Grandma’s 90th birthday, though he was unable to attend the party.
My grandmother left public school when she was in 5th grade, and she got her G.E.D. when she was in her 70s. We were all so very proud of her. She raised 7 children and took care of her home, her garden and her husband. My grandmother has always lived simply. She believes in the value and honor of hard work. And most important to her is her family. She is the matriarch that has helped to hold generations together. My grandmother has travelled some, but prefers being at home. She has the most amazing salt and pepper shaker collection – that numbers in the hundreds and every set has a note in it with who gave it to her and when. I am an only child and so is my mother. What I learned about brothers and sisters all came from what I saw in the homes of my aunts and uncles.
Yesterday, my grandmother was asked what her advice was for a long life. She said, “Do what you want. Make your own decisions, don’t let others tell you what to do.”