100 years of change

So, you think YOU’RE tired ? ? ? Let me tell you about my friend’s Mom, May.

May with Dad 1918 Mirror Alberta Canada

I am busy working on the 100th birthday party of a friend of mine.  I met May through her daughter, and admire this woman greatly for all that she’s been through, and for her stalwart spirit to find joy in most days, despite the challenges of her aging body.

May was born on March 21, 1916, in a small homestead in Mirror, Alberta, Canada.  While her mother died giving birth to her younger brother, May didn’t really notice the loss of her Mom (or, so she says) because she was loved and raised with help from her Grandparents and her father.

It wasn’t until May’s father remarried, and her life changed for the worst, that she realized how privileged she’d been up until that point. Her stepmother was traditional housewife, who felt that a woman’s place was in the home, and that her husband’s money was to be used for her benefit and not for the needs of his children.  Pretty normal for the 1920’s in the USA or Canada.

May, however, was a scrapper.  She fought to keep going to school (with her father’s support), and she fought to go to college to become a nurse.  Leaving home at 13 to reside with an elderly lady as a caregiver in the town where the college was located, May fought more women’s rights battles before breakfast than most of us will fight in our entire lifetime.

August 3, 1943. May Buelow Alm in a jeep ready to go to 104th Evacuation Hospital Headquarters.Waiting for a Driver

August 3, 1943, May was in Europe, an Army Captain of the Women’s Nursing Core, and doing her bit to help the cause of world peace from being over taken by world domination.

From this background, May married a wounded veteran, who later succumbed to his injuries after they’d had 3 children together.  Being a fighter, May the Widow found a way to be employed in Washington State as the Reservation Nurse, caring for First Nations peoples and using her skills for the betterment of herself and her small family.

May has traveled the world, enjoyed being a skier (she didn’t stop that hobby until a few years back, when she broke her first hip at 92), and loves local events at the American Veteran’s of Foreign Legion chapters wherever she lives.

In 2014, she traveled back to France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D Day:

May with the Troops 08JUN2014

May with President Barak Obama 07JUN14

As you can see, she’s been pretty active her entire life, and doesn’t miss a chance for a good party.  While she fell and broke her hip shortly after these pictures were taken, she survived the surgery in France, and flew home with her daughter to recuperate.

Last year, after another bone break, May finally received the French Foreign Legion award thanking her for her service (and which she’d originally been supposed to pick up in 2014 while in France).

This is a woman who has done a lot, seen a lot, and participated a great deal in the ever-changing world around her.  So, it was with a heavy heart that I’d heard she fell yesterday, and broke a couple of ribs.

May and her daughter have relocated to Colorado due to the daughter’s job, and while I was so looking forward to seeing them both for their visit to celebrate May’s 100th birthday, I’m waiting to hear if the trip must be delayed until May is able to travel.  I have my fingers crossed that she’s not in a lot of pain, and that the Doc will let her travel later this week.  May so loves a party !



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