90 reasons why

maga is my mom’s mom and TODAY SHE TURNS 90. a celebration of epic proportions is clearly due, which is why i find myself surrounded by family in the great state of colorado. tomorrow’s the big party, but today, her big day, this blog is all about her…

*throws confetti*

first, there’s this post, which, yes, i wrote it, but that doesn’t mean i’m not allowed to admit it’s one of my favorites.

second, because we finally got her out from behind the camera (photo circa visit in 2009).

third, because lists are so much fun, here are 90 reasons to celebrate maga. (this is slightly revised and smoothed out from an earlier version i posted at this time last year. except that one only had 89 reasons, because, yeah…) and here we go!

(1) Because she’s lived 90 incredible years with grace, class, and perseverance.

(2) Because she graduated from Wellesley College, earning a degree when many women didn’t.

(3) Because it wasn’t all work and no play during her college years. She knew how to have fun. By gathering up the girls and playing round after round of bridge.

(4) Because she said “I am” when a friend asked who was free to go on a blind date with a boy from MIT.

(5) Because that “I am” turned into an “I do” when the date was with one Joseph Searles Bowman.

(6) Because she moved to the west coast so she could be “closer” to Jobo should he ever get leave from the war. (A leave was apparently quite short and they wanted to maximize their time together. It would have been severely diminished if she had a 3 day train ride from the east coast to the west.)

(7) Because she didn’t know anyone on the west coast. She moved there for love.

(8) Because it’s a brave woman who can follow her heart like that.

(9) Because it’s a strong and true love story that can withstand a war.

(10) Because that love became the foundation of this family.

(11) Because she has expanded her horizons, traveled all over the world, and decided home is the best place to be.

(12) Because she took a house and turned it into a home.

(13) Because she created a family and cherished them completely.

(14) Because her strong opinions, formed from years of studying, traveling, and living, challenged her children and molded them into who they are today.

(15) Because she is fragile and feminine and fabulous.

(16) Because she still gets around town.

(17) Because she always puts on lipstick before leaving the house.

(18) Because she eats dessert with gusto.

(19) Because she has pictures printed into hard copy form at her photo shop down the street which makes the memories tangible.

(20) Because she instilled a love of card games (and competition) in her children, which then got passed down to her grandchildren.

(21) Because she can still whip my butt at cards.

(22) Because she has a hard time letting go of magazines and cards and trinkets and whatever else you can fit into a basement, but what she really doesn’t want to let go of are the memories.

(23) Because she opens the doors to 353 Ivy Street 365 days a year.

(24) Because she makes a decision and sticks to it.

(25) Because she has seen and experienced the world, but loves nothing more than spending time with her family.

(26) Because she puts a smile on her face and makes it through another day.

(27) Because she is grateful for the smallest gestures, like regular phone calls.

(28) Because she really listens to what you are saying.

(29) Because she loves gardenias.

(30) Because she has more courage than she realizes.

(31) Because she has so much to teach us and share with us.

(32) Because she likes to laugh.

(33) Because she still finds creative ways to travel the world (visiting museums and going to the theater) despite the limitations her age now puts on her.

(34) Because she is embracing the detour life has given her.

(35) Because she still writes and sends Christmas cards.

(36) Because she keeps the candy jar full of lemon drops.

(37) Because she gets dressed up when the occasion presents itself.

(38) Because she has a reason to get dolled up, which demonstrates how active her social life is.

(39) Because she gets her hair done every week.

(40) Because she has a computer in her house even though she has no idea how to use it.

(41) Because she has a cell phone even though she has no idea how to use it.

(42) Because she has an address book full of names and she knows how to use it.

(43) Because she is honest about how she is feeling.

(44) Because over the course of a conversation, her voice can go from sad to happy.

(45) Because she is continuing to live, and possibly even thrive, despite the passing of the love of her life.

(46) Because she is an incredible role model.

(47) Because she is stubborn.

(48) Because she has all of these memories to share.

(49) Because she shares them willingly.

(50) Because her mind is as sharp as ever.

(51) Because she loves to take pictures. The old fashioned way. With film.

(52) Because she then takes one more picture for insurance. (As do we all.)

(53) Because she has the best nickname, Maga, which makes people go “What do you call her?” which gives me a reason to go ahead and gush.

(54) Because she is stronger than she even knows.

(55) Because she doesn’t ask much, just that we visit.

(56) Because she would do anything for her family.

(57) Because her heart is full of love for us.

(58) Because her legacy is one of love, laughter, intelligence, and family.

(59) Because she has 12 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

(60) Because of Greg.

(61) Because of Jane.

(62) Because of Jennifer.

(63) Because of Peter.

(64) Because of me.

(65) Because of Heidi.

(66) Because of Emily.

(67) Because of Gib.

(68) Because of Caroline.

(69) Because of Anna.

(70) Because of Jack.

(71) Because of Joey.

(72) Because of Madeleine.

(73) Because of Aaron.

(74) Because of Liam.

(75) Because of Christian.

(76) Because of Kaelyn.

(77) Because she’s happy when we’re happy.

(78) Because she gave us the means, motivation, and preparation to succeed.

(79) Because she sends us a $2 bill on Valentine’s Day.

(80) Because she sends us handwritten cards.

(81) Because she deserves to have the love she sends to us returned to her tenfold.

(82) Because she generously shares access to the Dillon condo, the dude ranch, the fishing spot, and Cherry Hills Country Club.

(83) Because she answers the phone with a “Hello, Abby dear” and an excitement in her voice that can be felt from 2,000 miles away.

(84) Because she teaches me something new every time I talk to her.

(85) Because she is loyal.

(86) Because she always observes the proper etiquette rules and expects nothing less from us.

(87) Because she’s given us roots at 353 Ivy Street, but allowed us all to have wings.

(88) Because she checks the weather where we live so she can keep tabs on us by knowing what type of weather we’re dealing with each day.

(89) Because she is a survivor.

(90) Because while she may not express her emotions verbally, we can feel her affection through the way she listens, the questions she asks, and the tone of her voice.

we love you! happy birthday, maga!

10 thoughts on “90 reasons why”

  1. Tell Maga Happy Birthday!!! I’m so so soooo upset I can’t be there with you all!!!!!!! Sending my love from across the country!!!! :)


    1. 90 is quite the accomplishment and as Maga said, right before blowing out the candles on her cake, “I’ve accomplished all of this. All of you.”

  2. Hi ~ my mom, Kay Shannon, is a good friend of your grandma’s and wants to invite Ginny to her 100th birthday party on April 19th. We want to be sure that she is still living at 353 Ivy Street. Also – could you let me know what the zipcode is there.

    I use to play with your mom when we were kids…..my maidenname is Kathy Shannon.

    I loved your blog – what a great way to honor your Maga!

    Thanks! Katharine Roske

    1. what a small world! i can’t believe you found my blog just in time for your own mother’s centennial. what an accomplishment. congrats to her! i bet you’ve got a big old bash planned. :)

      in order to keep a small semblance of privacy, i’ll email you Maga’s current address rather than post it here. i know she loves to keep a full social calendar, so she’ll be delighted to hear from you.

      p.s. my mom says hi!

  3. I’m struck with your creativity in t6otalling 90 ways. I also learned something about Ginny Bowman after 40+ years of knowing her. Thanks for sharing. I’m not likely to see her again so send her my love. And also to you.
    (I just opened your website on our new computer)

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