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Life Lessons From Great-Grandma & the Great Depression Era

by | Aug 7, 2021 | Thrive

We were blessed to have Great-Grandma Jeanie living with us here at Riverbend for the last year of her life. She taught us all some amazing life lessons that’s she’s gleaned over the years, living through both the Great Depression and World War II, and, in this post, I’m sharing them with you!

Image of an elderly woman swinging on a swingset.

You’ve probably heard the sad news that we lost our Great-Grandma Jeanie this past month. We were so blessed to get to spend the last year of her life as she came to live with us here on Riverbend.

She was a very adventurous and spry person who loved life. I enjoyed spending time with her, watching how she handled situations and I gleaned so much from her.

Grandma Jeanie had this amazing spirit about her, but she lived through a lot of very challenging and hard times. She was born during the great depression and came into adulthood just as World War II began. She saw a lot of people leave and go to war and come back not quite the same as when they left, if they came back at all.

She lost two children at a young age and lost a husband early on in their marriage. She went on to remarry and lose another husband, but through it all, she had an amazing presence about her that was so joyful and hopeful, even though she’d been through those very hard things.

Image of an elderly woman standing in front of a tree.

I felt so blessed to get to watch her in the last year of her life and I wanted to share some of the biggest life lessons I learned from her:

  1. Always stay in the action – Don’t ever let yourself feel sidelined and make sure you’re always jumping in with whatever exciting thing is going on around you. Be excited about it and have a good time!
  2. Dance, Sing and Laugh – Whenever you can and with whoever you can! Even at 92 years old, whenever Grandma Jeanie would come into the kitchen she’d be dancing around, even if she needed to use her cane!
  3. Always Call Anyone Your Good Friend – Anyone you’ve discussed life with, or just had a simple conversation with can be your good friend. You just develop a great attitude about the people around you. You don’t even need to know someone’s last name for them to be a great friend! When you get to be 92 you may not even remember their first name, but they can still be a good friend.
  4. Always Look Your Best – It doesn’t matter if you’re just hanging out around the house or headed into town, always put on jewelry and put on makeup and dress your best because you’ll feel your best, too! Grandma Jeanie was always known for being classy and dressed up… and she loved her jewelry!
  5. Always Try New Things – Don’t let your age be your excuse for not doing something new! Grandma Jeanie went skydiving at 65 and rode a bike at 92 when she hadn’t done it in a couple of decades! Doing these new things keeps you fresh, keeps you engaged, and keeps you looking forward to the next adventure in life.
  6. Keep in Touch – Old friends, family members, even receptionists at the doctor’s office! Grandma would always take the time to pick up the phone and give these people a call from time to time to connect. It will make them feel special, it will make you feel special, and you’ll stay connected to more people throughout your lifetime.
  7. Keep Jesus at the Center! He is the reason for our hope and He can keep that smile on your face and that joy in your heart, even when life gets incredibly hard. When you’re ill, injured or things are going badly around you, He is the reason for the joy that we have!
Image of three people posing for a Christmas photo.

We are really missing Grandma Jeanie, but we are so blessed to have so many wonderful memories.  

Take care, and be sure to reach out to someone you love today.

Josh and Carolyn
Homesteading Family

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– Carolyn and Josh 


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