Each year, November 11 takes on a double significance for me. It is Veterans Day, of course. It is also my grandmother’s birthday. Nellie Watts would have been 112 years old today. She wasn’t born on Veterans Day. She came first! The end of World War I, November 11, 1918, was her 17th birthday.
She was my “in-town” grandmother. My other grandmother, Ruth Cook lived in Escondido, California. She was very much part of my life as well, but Grandma Watts was the one who was there for me on an almost daily basis.. She always made me feel special, and loved, and blessed. She helped me grow up knowing that with those blessings from God came responsibilities.
She just loved it when the family was together. Especially when her out-of-town children and grandchildren and her own siblings and family were there. When it was time to leave, it was always mandatory that we first pose for pictures. Grandma and her pictures! It felt like such a nuisance. We were ready to go. We had things to do. But no, Grandma had to take her pictures first. And she always had a way of doing something wrong with her camera which extended the time this took way past the limits of my youthful tolerance.
Now we have a lot of pictures! And they are pictures we treasure. She knew something I did not comprehend at the time. Children grow up. Families change. People die. Preserving memories of those special times we share is pretty important. Well worth the nuisance of delaying everyone’s departure!
The Nellie Watts Welcome Center was dedicated at Suttle Lake United Methodist Camp (near Bend, Oregon) on April 28, 2012. Had she been there, she would have had her camera, I’m sure. Fortunately others came prepared with theirs. Here are a couple of pictures that help us remember that great day. One of them shows my dad (on the right) with his brother and sister. It is a picture I especially treasure now.