For Mother’s Day: Lessons Learned From My Grandma

Since Sunday is Mother’s Day,  I want to honor my grandmother, Anna Mae Webbe, and share some of her wisdom.

Born in 1909 before women had the right to vote, she spent her earliest years in picturesque Belmont Co., Ohio. Grandma was the proud and loyal wife of William Frank Webbe, an award-winning insurance salesman for the American Association of Automobiles. Even when she could no longer drive, she continued her AAA membership out of loyalty.

She came of age during the Great Depression, which influenced her spartan lifestyle. Until her dying days, she saved envelopes for scrap paper.

A dear and kind soul, she sacrificially contributed to my college education, making me the first of my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. She wrote the society column for the Willoughby News Herald. Ironically, I became a journalist and public relations professional in the insurance industry.

Church was the center of her life. Three days before she died in 1994, she was leaving for church in her Sunday best not knowing it was Tuesday. She suffered from a massive stroke, making it to church for eternity.

Here’s what I learned from a woman who joyfully served others.

1#  Don’t let age slow you down. When grandma was in her 70s, she played whiffle ball with me and my brother.

2#  If you don’t like a subject in school, do well at it so you don’t have to take it again!

3#  Be careful of what you throw away. You never know when you might need it.

4#  Remember birthdays. Acknowledge them.

5# Always send a thank you card.

6# Serve God and others.

7#  Don’t replace anything until it is truly beyond affordable repair. Grandma could have never anticipated a world of planned obsolesce. I don’t replace anything until necessary.

8# If you need a girdle, for God’s sake, wear it! (Though, of course, it is best not to need it!)

9# Don’t waste food.

10# Lipstick also makes rosy cheeks.

11#  Buy U.S. Savings Bonds for college. Grandma took me to the bank and cashed savings bonds she and my grandfather bought for me. That money got me started at Ohio University. While I know experts say this is not the best way to save, I sentimentally started buying them at my first post-college job. By the time my daughters start college, some will be reaching 30 years of maturity.

12# Be polite and kind to all.

13# Pray.

And finally, join AAA, you never know when you will need it! I have been a member since 1990 and it has saved my bacon many times.

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