On Wednesday, Dec. 12, I took my great-grandmother Noda Howard into Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School to visit Mrs. Rock's second grade class, where my daughter Jozlyn Welch is a student. They do a project in second grade each year where they are suppose to bring in their oldest living grandparent to talk about how life was back in their time of being a young student.
Some of the questions were where were they born, from what parts of the country or world were their family members came from, what kind of toys and games did they have, did they have chores or pets, what kind of clothes did they wore, what school was like and what did they dream of being when they grew up.
Noda Howard was born on Aug. 30, 1926, in Essex. She lived on a farm with her parents and 10 siblings growing up. They lived off their land growing gardens which the kids helped harvest, cut their own firewood, made their own clothing and even made their own toys from wood or corn cob dolls. Living on a farm they were expected to tend to the animals and much of their food was supplied from livestock or their own harvest. During this period of time they traveled by foot or horse and buggy. Noda remembers as a child making long trips to Canada to visit her grandparents. And as a child, her dreams were to be a nurse and although she never became a nurse, she was a dietary aid at the Essex County Nursing home for 30-plus years from where she retired.
The part that got me was when we were exiting the classroom, she made mention to the fact she had made it their for my two older children, Alexus and Keagan, and now Jozlyn and she wanted to know, “when Charlie was going to be in second grade?” I said he won't be in second for another four years. She stated, “I guess I will have to wait around until then!” At the young age of 86 we are very blessed to have shared so many years with a hard working, devoted, caring and amazing lady. She has put in many years of care for not only her own family but total strangers or other people's family members. Nobody knows what God's plan is for any of us but we can only hope we will have another four-plus years with her in our lives being the oldest of five generations in our family.