**Update - It's 2016 and today my grandmother is 96 years young! Still living in her own apartment, with some assistance from family and other caregivers. Happy Birthday!
Today I would like to wish a happy 92nd birthday to my grandmother, Linona "Peggy" Blake. She was born in 1920, the daughter of Estes and Eva Yates. She was the fourth of eight children and the second girl. She has outlived all her siblings except the youngest one. She married my grandfather, Clayton Blake in Bethel, Maine. Together they raised three daughters, Myrna, Kaye, and Loretta. They lived in the part of Bethel known as the "Steam Mill" because that was the most well-known local feature. My mother told me they lived across from the mill and that both my grandparents worked there while she was growing up. By the time my memories start, my grandparents were spending summers working at the Balsams Resort in New Hampshire during the summers and at a resort in Pompano Beach, Florida during the winters. During the shoulder seasons, they had a little cabin behind my great-grandparents' house. Grammie is a wonderful cook and she was the pastry chef at these resorts. My mother drove a school bus and my sister and I had to ride the high school run and the elementary run in the mornings. When Grammie was home, my mother would let us off on her way out to pick up the high school students and pick us up for the elementary run. Grammie would make us a big breakfast. I remember having a pancake eating contest with my grandfather one morning and my grandmother getting upset with him when he wouldn't let me win. She was worried I would get sick at school from eating too many pancakes. I think we finally called it a tie.
I admire her very much. She worked hard her entire life. She is a very positive person and loves to dance and sing. I remember her always singing while she worked around the house. Two summers ago we had a party for her 90th birthday. She wore a bright pink dress (see picture above) and loved being the center of attention. She danced most of the afternoon. She continues to be active in the Grange and loves to socialize. She painted beautiful landscapes and sewed clothes for herself and others. She had to give up those activities when her eye sight got too weak. Spending time with her yesterday reminded me how lucky I am to still have a living grandparent.
Happy Birthday, Grammie!