100 Years

100 Years. One Century. 1200 months. 5200 weeks. 36,500 days. However you want to look at it, a LONG time. Our current view of the world is directly time centered. Its been so many hours, days, weeks, months, years since {blank}. The blank can be a myriad of things – the day you were born, the day you graduated, the day you quit smoking, the day you started your diet, the day you were married, the day you were divorced, the day your oldest/middle/youngest child was born, the day your first grandchild was born, the day your mom/dad/other loved one died, the day you started your current job, the day you retired–the list is literally endless. But we are a time centered society.

So, what has happened in the last 100 years. Well, for starters, its pretty much guaranteed that every single one of you reading this was born. There are few centenarians around, and very few of those are on Facebook – or a computer at all. Many – not all but many – of the older generation are just not all that into the internet, as they remember a time when it didn’t exist, and life went on just fine without it. Shoot – I REMEMBER life without the internet!So it would make sense for the next thing in the last 100 years to be just that – the internet! Other things, in no particular order: television, cell phones, compact discs, VHS, Betamax, DVD, Blu-ray, video games, fast food, cable television, satellites, atomic weapons, birth control, civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the Iran hostage crisis, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, blow dryers, curling irons, pantyhose without garters, Disneyland, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, (and any number of cartoon characters), Dr. Seuss, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, Perry Mason, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Baby Jessica, Baby Elizabeth, Patty Hearst, Disco, Rock N Roll, Elvis, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Greta Garbo, Big Bands, Talking Movies, Drive Ins, Drive Thrus, ……Heavens, I could go on for hours!!!! We are talking about 100 years, after all.

I’m sure you are thinking why today is a day I’m thinking about 100 years. If you have been reading my posts, you may have an idea. The day I’m thinking of is December 27, 1914. The place, South Boston, Massachusetts. The event – the birth of a baby boy to James McLaurin Shipley and Margaret Elizabeth Carnabey Forster Shipley: Alan McLaurin Shipley.

Alan, or Al, was a quiet boy, very smart, and as a teen, very mischievous. The story was told of how he and his brother, Ian, put skunk oil on the new boilers at the school and closed it down for a time. Stories of snakes and frogs in teachers desks, sleeping in class (yet knowing the lesson perfectly), and riding a streetcar were told to later generations. He also had two sisters, Dorothy, or Dot, and Edith, or Edie. Al was the third child of the four. Redheaded as a young man, he was prematurely gray, and stayed clean-shaven because his beard would come in both red and gray. When he was a young man, his parents divorced. Al would care for, and live with his mother for the rest of her days. Ma, as he called her, (sounding like “Mar” with the Boston accent), would quietly pass away December 31, 1955 in her rocking chair.

Al married once to a lady named Grace Williams, a divorcee with two girls, but the marriage was annulled after a short time. In 1961, he would marry Patricia Anne Stoner Biggs, a divorced mother of two. October 21, 1961 would be the day the perfect couple came together. They never fought, rarely disagreed. She was his world, and he spoiled her rotten.  On December 27, 1963, she gave him the ultimate birthday present – a daughter. Yep – ME. I was my daddy’s 49th birthday present, and from the second I entered this world, I was Daddy’s Girl. His siblings had children who were grown, or at the least teens when I was born. His sister Dot had grandchildren older than I was, and her granddaughter was born just 3 months after I was. I was always raised with an older sister and brother, even though they were “half” – that was never emphasized. My world was pretty much perfect – very little dissension, and I was quite honestly spoiled – and loved.

When he died on November 1, 1979, my world forever changed. But that was the subject of another blog, and is just a fact in this one. What remains is that every year, on December 27th, I get one year older – and if he were still here, so would he. This brings me to my title, as I am sure you have surmised. Tomorrow, my daddy would have turned 100. So while I will celebrate 51 years tomorrow, it is truly his milestone that I will celebrate. Daddy – you had to leave this life before any of my big milestones occurred. I turned 16, and 21, without you. I married, had three kids, and now two grandchildren – without you. But they all know you, through me and my memories. They all know that one day of the year, December 27th, was very special. Daytime was my time – but nighttime was yours. Every year, a party at the house, with your and Mom’s friends and family, where the alcohol flowed freely, and the food was unending, and your daughter was always there, no matter my age, because we shared something no one else did. We shared a birthday, and you made sure it was special. I remember the one thing that set our birthday apart – it was the only day you would drink Old Grandad. You always started first thing in the morning, and you drank all day. But, its funny really, I never ever remember you intoxicated. I’m sure you were – that’s powerful stuff. But you were always just Daddy, never wavering, never-changing.

So tomorrow – my 51st birthday, and your 100th – I will celebrate you a little extra. Because, 100 years ago, the world got a little brighter when you became part of it. Even though you left way too soon, your light shines on through me, my children, and now my grandchildren. Your nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and your one remaining sister-in-law all remember you fondly still. You left a huge mark on the world, Daddy – and you truly never knew what an amazing man you were.

So, Happy 100th Birthday, Daddy. Forgive me if all I raise is my coffee cup – but I toast you all the same.


Thanks for your time in reading this – it is much appreciated.

This entry was posted in anniversary, birthday, family, life, milestone, respect, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 100 Years

  1. Debbie Herman says:

    Wonderful …. Love this! Happy 100th to your Daddy & 51 to you!

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