My grandmother Elsie Battaglia is 99 years old.
One of her prized possessions is the wood sculpture dodo bird pictured below. It was carved by a young man with a chainsaw perhaps 40 years ago. Grandma loves telling the story of how she knew of this young man for years, and how he had not been motivated much in life, and hadn’t accomplished anything noteworthy. Then one day, someone gave him a chainsaw and some logs, and he taught himself to produce sculptures. He went into business for himself and did a brisk business selling his creations.
This dodo bird means a lot to me because it’s one of the few items that Grandma took from house to house with her as she’s moved over the years. I remember it from when I was a young child.
This picture was taken on March 9, 2004 when Grandma lived part of the year at her house she then owned in Desert Hot Springs, California.
My Grandmother is slowing down, and she recently stopped exercising regularly at Curves, the health club chain. I believe she only joined as a member at about age 93 or so. Her friends would pick her up and take her to Curves since she chose to no longer drive a car some years back.
On a recent visit, I made copies of all her photo albums, some 16 gigabytes, and she gave me permission to post them. There are thousands of pictures going back decades, and I’m not yet sure how to approach this big project. Stay tuned.
My grandmother was on the Internet daily with WebTV in 1997, and thankfully I saved all of her emails. She only signed off permanently years later because she was getting too much spam to handle. WebTV was slow and cumbersome, and I can understand her frustration with all the unsolicited email.
I love my grandmother, and I’m going to visit her next month.