When I’m 98

For Christmas, I got my dad a CD of  a Popular Mechanics-type magazine from 1919, the year he was born.  He loves mechanical type stuff.  Always did.  In two months, Dad will be 98 years old.  Here is the birthday card I found for him:

Funny how times change, isn’t it?

Dad has stories he loves to tell and retell again and again—always with different details.  The thing is, more and more his story endings evolve from the way things were to the way he wishes they had been.  No use correcting him.  No reason to.  He’s earned the right to own polished memories.  It’s what I will want when I’m 98.


“Nostalgia is the file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.”

~Columnist Doug Larson~

About kaystrom

Kay Marshall Strom, who am I? Well, I’m a traveler, a railer against social injustice, a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life: Of my 43 published books, eight have been book club selections, seventeen have been translated into foreign languages, and two have been optioned for movies. My writing credits include numerous magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. Along with my husband Dan, I also have produced a series of booklets for writers. My writing has appeared in a number of volumes including three versions of the NIV Devotional Bible and the devotional book My Heart, Christ’s Home, Through the Year. I love to write, and I love to share about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I do enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships! More and more my writing and speaking are drawing me to countries and cultures around the world. Because I don’t see how a writer can really reflect another people and land without spending time there, I’ve been trekking through India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sudan, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, tape recorder and camera in hand, to gather stories from the world-wide family of God and to speak on their behalf. I’ve traveled to the hard places of the world to tell “the rest of the story” of our donor dollars at work. Thanks to my “virtual friendship” with 17th century John Newton, slave ship captain turned preacher, I traveled through Ireland with the preview team of the movie Amazing Grace (John wrote the hymn). I recently spoke in Japan and South Korea, and my husband Dan and I taught writing classes in India. And, oh, how thankful I am for every bit of it! I went to West Africa to work on a non-fiction book, but when I toured an old slave fortress off the coast and saw a tiny set of baby manacles bolted to the wall, I was struck dumb. All I could think was: “How could good, God-fearing people ever get to the place where they think that is okay?” From that horror came a story question, and from that question, my foray into fiction: The Grace in Africa trilogy. My seven trips to India led to the Blessings in India fiction trilogy. Come join me as I travel and rail against injustice. Join me as I walk along the beach, or work in the garden, or warble a tune. Be my friend. Maybe you will choose to also be a 21st century abolitionist.
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6 Responses to When I’m 98

  1. Jean Stewart says:

    Sweet, Kay. And how lovely he has his memories to share–absolutely correct or slightly wistful. Happy Birthday to him!

    • kaystrom says:

      Yes, Jean. Even greatly wistful is okay with me. After 98 years living through everything from the Great Depression to World War II, from the Cold War to today’s political divisions, from riding horses to walking on the moon, from the Ozark Mountains to San Francisco, I think he’s earned the right to have the past his way. I called him tonight to pass on your birthday wishes.

      Love to you~ Kay

  2. B.J. Taylor says:

    Love your quote:

    “Nostalgia is the file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.”
    ~Columnist Doug Larson~

    And rough edges those good old days did have, sometimes in abundance. Thanks for the memories and Happy Birthday to your Dad!


    • kaystrom says:

      Thank you, dear B.J. I really like that quote too. And I’m already making use of that file. I called Dad tonight to pass along your and Jean’s birthday wishes. He said, “B.J.? I remember her.”

      Love you,

  3. My mother will be 97 this August and lived independently until three years ago. I call her every week and let her talk an hour. I’d actually welcome a little more edited nostalgia and less tempest-in-a-teapot reporting of the doings of assisted living.

    Had a moment of nostalgia myself last week stirring tapioca.

    • kaystrom says:

      Too bad we can’t get your mom and my dad together for a gab-fest. Not that my dad could hear her. Not that it would matter.

      I also had a nostalgic tapioca moment last week!

      ~ Kay

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