Celebrating 90 Years of Pioneering, Part 2

In my last post I talked about learning to appreciate my grandma but I didn’t talk a lot about how she became a pioneering woman.  In fact, up until my grandpa died six years ago, I didn’t know much about her past at all.  I knew she moved from Wisconsin to southern Idaho when she was young and that’s how she met my grandfather but that’s about all I knew.  I knew quite a bit about my grandpa and his family but not much about grandma.

About a year or so after my grandpa died, grandma began to talk about herself.  She would tell little bits about her childhood or what grandpa and she did after they got married.  She would start talking in quiet, unguarded moments like a long car ride or eating a meal or just sitting around visiting.

I call my grandma a pioneer because come to find out, she has a pretty interesting past and was a very courageous and daring young woman.  When she was eighteen years old and only six months after graduating from high school, she moved from the family farm in Wisconsin to Seattle, WA for training with the Civil Aeronautics Authority.

In those days that was a pretty big deal and according to her, most young women got married or had careers that were decided on by their families but I guess she was the black sheep of the family and decided on her own career path that took her hundreds of miles from her home and her family and everything she knew to make her own way in the world.

Grandma was supposed to travel with a group of young women on the train but somehow their plans changed and they were unable to contact my grandmother to tell her, so she boarded the train by herself, celebrated Thanksgiving by herself and arrived in Seattle four days later, in the middle of the night. She was all alone, didn’t know anyone and didn’t have any place to stay.  She managed to talk her way into a YWCA for the night and in those days that was quite a feat because they wouldn’t let just any stranger in off the street,  you had to be recommended by someone to stay there (grandma must have been a bit of a sweet talker)!  A couple of days later her friends finally arrived and they began their training.


My beautiful grandma, ‘The Pioneer’ when she was 17 or 18 years old.

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