My Granny is 101 Today | Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC Photographer

SHE has held the family together by keeping everyone close around the dining room table – around plates and platters of her wonderful cooking. For 101 years my Great Grandmother {Granny} has called a very small geographical area in Florida home. Yes, my family are the true Florida crackers!


Growing up in the flat woods of north central Florida, living off the land, going on to marry my Gaggy to build a successful farm with cattle & thousands of acres of peanuts. Always keeping something – snakes, dogs – away from her precious chickens. Always having meat aging in the cooler ready to be cut and packaged. Always ready to sit outside and enjoy what breeze the Gooski Prairie, behind her house, provides in the Florida heat.

Granny grew up just miles from where she lives now. She raised her kids just miles from the family homestead! I’ve been privileged to have visited her homestead and hear her stories, see her eyes glass-over as she remembers the memories of growing up in the Florida swamps along the river – getting goosebumps in the summer heat watching Granny point to where things use to be. Listening to her voice rise slightly as she declared ‘that oak was old when I was little!’ Ha! Always hearing the good, with the bad times being described as ‘it was hard’. Even typing those words I can hear her saying them. Smelling her house and knowing the door is always open and the refrigerator is full. A hug and kiss are what welcomes me and what I leave with. Always. No matter how many people are present.

Granny is a good woman. Not just a strong woman, but a GOOD woman. She pasted her empowering traits to my Grandmother, Granny’s oldest child and my daughter’s namesake. No matter what, be strong and smile. That’s what my Granny has done so many times. Even with tears in her eyes, she smiles. My fingers are begging to type stories – stories I’ve learned from her childhood, the Depression, hearing those words in more than one story, ‘we didn’t know what poor was, we just kept going’. Those stories need to come from Granny as the days become more precious, to hear them again and again. Granny is always ready to share the good times.

My love for cooking came from Granny – every Thanksgiving I task myself with her dressing. One day I’ll get it right. I learned how to find a worm in a lily pad, thread my hook and catch fish using a cane pole on the prairie, in a canoe with my Grandmother. Not to mention the turtle, squirrel, frog legs, deer & fish (to name a few) I grew up eating, caught just feet from her back door. The alligator traps, learning the difference in the Florida turtles – mainly hearing ‘don’t mess with that one!’ and ‘watch where you step!’. Us great grandkids kept it classy using red solo cups to catch minnows during family gatherings. Spending many hours picking fruit and berries during the summer with my Grandmother – knowing we were often finding a reason to go see Granny.

Hearing her stories, listening to the all too familiar creak as I open the garage door. It’s been like that as long as I can remember! Smelling the prairie then the familiar smells of my Granny – something time cannot take away. The past few months doctors have started using words like ‘shutting down’, hardly see’… but no one can take the memories, familiar smells and delicate sounds.

Selfishly, I’m writing about all Granny has given and what I miss and love. Me. Writing about me. It’s the last thing she would do, but that’s what I’ve been blessed with and want to remember the GOOD times on such a special day.

This morning I watched my almost 4-year-old tell Granny Happy 101st Birthday. I am in my thirties and have gotten to see my child play with her Great Great Grandmother. They are close! Granny can hardly hear these days, but my daughter finds ways around talking to ‘HER Granny’. She sends notes, tells her namesake what to say, tells everyone her Granny is her BEST FRIEND…. My heart truly smiles each time I hear such cuteness. Granny’s oldest Great Great Grandchild doesn’t understand the significance of age, but knows Granny plays the best pretend phone-talking games. She knows Granny is amazing and that’s all that matters.

Today, on her 101st birthday, or any other day, Granny is an amazing woman in my eyes and shines as bright as the Florida sun to my almost 4-year-old!

Happy Birthday, Granny!

Remember when:
Granny turned 99!
Granny turned 100!