When you were a kid, did you ever think, “I want to live to be 100 years old.” Yep, me too. Well, I am fortunate enough to know someone very special to me that is closing in on that giant milestone, my grandma. She is 99 1/2 years old, she will be turning 100 in December and I am hopeful that she makes it. I’ve been telling my boys how lucky they are to have a great grandmother and all the amazing changes she has seen in the world during her lifetime. Imagine growing up without electricity, indoor plumbing, a car, television, computers, iPhones, and more.
According to my grandmother, she was most excited to have electricity; she thought that was the best invention — the concept of going from dark to light.
As an early birthday present and a history lesson for my kids, I thought it would be fun to highlight the decades since 1914, the year of her birth.
1914: Woodrow Wilson is president. World War 1 begins. Henry Ford begins an assembly line for Model T’s. Babe Ruth debuts at pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Panama Canal opens. President Woodrow Wilson makes a proclamation for the first Mother’s Day (Thank you).
1924: Calvin Coolidge is president. The first Winter Olympics was in France. IBM is founded by Thomas Watson. J. Edgar Hoover is named first director of the FBI. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is held.
1934: Franklin D. Roosevelt is president. Alcatraz becomes a federal prison. The first Masters Golf Tournament is held. The Great Dustbowl Storm sweeps across the prairie states. Hitler becomes commander in chief of Germany. Ritz Crackers are introduced.
1944: Franklin D. Roosevelt is president. World War II continues. Wartime meat rationing ends in the United States. John Hopkins Hospital performs first open heart surgery.
1954: Dwight D. Eisenhower is president. For the first time, there are more tractors on farms than horses and mules. General Electric introduces color for appliances. TV dinners are introduced by CA Swanson & Sons; the first dinner was roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes and peas, and sold for 98 cents. Peanut M&M’s are introduced. Ground breaking begins for Disneyland. President Eisenhower signs order adding “Under God” to pledge. Air Force One, the first presidential airplane, is christened.
1964: Lyndon Johnson is President. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that smoking may be dangerous to your health. The first Ford Mustang is produced. Kennedy half dollar is issued. Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison in South Africa. The Civil Rights Act passes. “Mary Poppins” is released in theaters. The Roman Catholic Church in USA replaces language used in Mass from Latin to English.
1974: Richard Nixon is president until Aug. 9, when he resigns and Vice President Gerald Ford is sworn in as president due to the Watergate scandal. Ford was the first person to not be elected for either vice president or president. Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth’s home run record of 714 and breaks it. President Ford pardons former President Nixon of all federal crimes. Pop Rocks are invented. Jif introduces Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter. The Super Tornado Breakout: 148 tornados in 13 states over 26 hours.
1984: Ronald Reagan is president. Apple computer unveils its personal computers — Macintosh. The AIDS virus is identified. Geraldine Ferraro wins Democratic vice president nomination. First MTV awards show. Baboon heart transplanted into a 15-day-old girl. She lives for 21 days.
1994: Bill Clinton is president. Crayola introduces scented crayons. NAFTA goes into effect. Ice skater Nancy Kerrigan is attacked by Tonya Harding’s body guard. “Shindler’s List” wins Best Picture award. Vatican acknowledges Holocaust for the first time. O.J. Simpson car chase is televised live. He gives up and is arraigned for the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.
2004: George W. Bush is president. Martha Stewart is convicted of obstructing justice. Janet Jackson has a “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show. The U.S. lifts a travel ban to Libya, which lasted for 23 years. Google introduces Gmail.
I want to thank my Grandma Goldie for inspiring me to write this article, to learn more history of the past 100 years, and to live each day to its fullest. Happy early birthday grandma, I will be there in December to help celebrate!
• Leah Derewicz is a 15-year Ahwatukee Foothills resident. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.