I am Momentous Living:
March 21, 1911-November 3, 2008
“The first I heard of it,” her son, Trevor, recalled, “she called me in Maryland.”
“Can you help me get a new car?” she asked.
“Sure,” Trevor said. “What kind of a car do you want?”
“I want a convertible,” she answered.
“Mom, you’re 91. That’s not a very practical car.”
“Trevor, I’ve been practical all my life. I want a convertible.”
So, what does one say to their 91-year-old mother who insists on buying a convertible?
“Okay,” Trevor said.
“Do you want me to do some research?”
“I want a BMW Z3,” she said . . . matter-of-factly.
“Are you sure?” Trevor asked.
“Yes. I’m sure.”
With a car in mind, Trevor made an appointment with Cain Toyota BMW in Canton, Ohio. When he and his mother arrived, it quickly became apparent she had already been talking to the salesmen.
“That’s the car I want,” she said, pointing to a powder blue beauty.
That was it. No decisions to be made.
“It was a set up as far I was concerned,” Trevor said. “We bought that car that day and drove it out of there. It had 12,886 miles.”
Nanny apparently had been pondering her purchase for a while. Her niece, Marged, and nephew-in-law, Richard, recall her riding with them one spring when she was ninety.
“I’m thinking of getting rid of my Cadillac,” Nanny had said.
“Are you going to stop driving?” they casually inquired.
“Heaven’s no! I’m going to get a BMW Z3 convertible.”
Sure enough, that’s exactly what she did. (Talk about self-awareness).
“I was happy for her,” Trevor said. “It was something new. She was so enthused about it. She drove it all around the towns of Navarre, Massillon, and Canton. She would even ship it to Florida in the winter and drive it around Marco Island. She was a young 91-year-old.”
Nanny’s sister, Dorothy, said everyone in town thought she was crazy when she purchased the car. Regardless, she was quite famous around Stark County. One of the staff at her dentist’s office liked the car so much that she bought one too. And a minister at one of the town churches apparently used Nanny’s car as “Bible-based” inspiration for the youth. “If you do the right things and get an education, some day, you can get a car like that.”
Neighbors said they always knew when it was Nanny’s hairdo day because she would drive with the top up, temporarily choosing a coiffed do over a free spirit. She never jeopardized spirit for her grandchildren though. They remember riding in the convertible and doing exciting things like piling out of the car at intersections, running around it, and then piling back in. Nanny also demonstrated to them how to catch air by joyriding a few miles out of town and speeding over a notorious hump so her car (and grandchildren) would take flight. 91-year-old Grandma takes flight in convertible.
Although Nanny’s car was a lot of fun, Trevor remembers it being quite impractical too.
“I would hit my head on the bar that retracted on the top. One time I flew in for my school reunion and drove the car. My head was bleeding when I went to my damn 50th. That car was a pain, but I didn’t tell her that because that was her baby.”
Indeed it was.
Nanny passed away from aortic valve failure at the age of ninety-seven. After her family visited her in the hospital, in true Nanny style, she removed her oxygen tubes and peacefully passed—still in the driver’s seat. At her “Celebration of Life” funeral, the Z3 sat in front of the church with it’s top down, in memory of its spunky owner.
Nanny’s nephew, Dan, bought the Z3. Although it only had 20,958 miles, barely 8,000 more then when she purchased it six years earlier, the powder blue beauty came with a million miles worth of joyful memories.
Every year Dan emails an update regarding Nanny’s convertible. This year he wrote:
Connected the battery and fired up the sports car. All systems go. Took it for a tour around Westerville. Just under 25,000 miles. Don’t want to wear it out!! Don’t know how your mom popped in and out so fast. We have to struggle to get our knees and back straightened out. hahaha
If you liked “91-year-old Grandma takes Flight in Convertible,” you might like this Grandma story too.
4 thoughts on “91-year-old Grandmother Takes Flight in Powder Blue Convertible”
Debby, thanks for capturing my mother’s spirit. She loved to fly. When I called her in Spring of 1956 to say I was going to NY to interview IBM, she said “when are we leaving ?” Two days we were off to NYC. In typical Alice fashion, she talked her way into the cockpit to see NYC on approach at night. She may have been born and raised on a farm in Ohio, but she went out to meet the world, Zoom Zoom
Your mom left a beautiful legacy and an inspiring example for all women. It was such a pleasure writing her Zoom Zoom story. 🙂
I hope I still have that spirit of adventure when I’m 91!