Comments: 1055 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

rhythmjay247 karma

What, to you, is the most important event that has happened since you were born?

grannyselma465 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "Gee. So hard, there are so many important things. This is not a feminist thing, I'm almost ashamed to say it, but becoming a mother. Now a days women at least have a choice. When my kids were born I knew I was giving up career benefits but I was lucky that I got to do some part time work. Oh a world event! In this country I think the election of Barack Obama, but the entire world... Let me think a minute. The UN maybe but that didn't work out the way it should. Moon landing? Internet? Technological inventions."

Offenzive4Lyfe136 karma

Why do you have such a pimpin proof picture?

Are you about to drop your mixtape?

grannyselma138 karma

Granddaughter here, she's cracking up at this comment. She said for me to comment "hahaha"

zennmon123 karma

Well for starters hello fellow Pacific NW dweller. My question is What sort of things did your family do to survive the depression? An old teacher of mine would always tell me how him and his family slept in a chicken coop during that time. was it at all a similar experience for you?

grannyselma211 karma

We were lucky, my dad had a job and we were never hungry, but had no luxuries, no car, no phone, but plenty of fun doing simple things like reading and walking to interesting places.

sandernista_4_TRUMP118 karma

Who are you voting for? ;) And also do you feel like over the years, has society's attitude changed more or has yours personally changed more? Thanks for answering.

grannyselma393 karma

I wanted to vote for Bernie, but I'm satisfied to vote for the first woman and the one best qualified for the job. The alternative is very scary.

TookieBeckinheim82 karma

What advice would you give to women working in fields that are male dominated?

grannyselma256 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "Well, what I did was just work hard. Don't be intimidated."

NeuroApathy70 karma

Do you believe in the spiritual afterlife, or the religious afterlife?

grannyselma197 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny


KingXello69 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA! In all your years, what is the most important book you've ever read (or one of them, if you can't pick) and why?

grannyselma144 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It shows how one person can make important changes in the world."

wikitimelines69 karma

Who was your favorite US president since you have been alive?

grannyselma275 karma

Barack Obama because he has done so much for our country and because he is such a fine person.

justscottaustin56 karma

Who was your advisory professor on your Masters at Stanford?

How long did you work with the DIA?

Finally, when did science and/or rocks start to speak to you? Did you always want to do what you did since you were a kiddo?

EDIT: The reason for the 1st is that while Stanford is NOW known for being a tolerant and liberal university, this was not always so. It is my understanding from some folks who were likely your contemporaries that it was VERY MUCH an Old Boy's network, and I am curious who would take a young lady on at that time.

grannyselma49 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "My professors name was A.D Howard. I don't really remember for sure. 1947. There was the Hoover library located there so there were a lot of conservatives."

"About ten years. Very rough estimate."

"When I had my first geology course. Didn't speak to me at first."

Morphiadz55 karma

Do you feel that all of the years have gone by quickly? I've always wanted to ask more older people this. I've only been able to ask my grandmother (she's almost 93), to which she said it did.

Also, why did you pick geology, when no women were studying it? Was there a specific way you found out about it?

grannyselma148 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "Yeah! Except for elementary school, which seemed to go on forever! I didn't want anything to do with people, so I did the furthest from dealing with people: Rocks! My sister told me about it. I started out in chemical engineering too, but when it got to quantitative analysis I said, No! No! So I took an earth science class and I liked it."

Mafiya_chlenom_K49 karma

How would you compare the Civil Rights Act and the events that came before it to what is happening today?

grannyselma229 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "That's really very important but I'm afraid it's not over. The struggle is not over for civil rights. But it was a tremendously important law but have a long way to go. Some people think we've gone too far out of our way to protect minorities and that we're disadvantaging whites. Did you know our dog is racist? He's little and white and doesn't like the black dogs. OH! Don't put that in, that's hilarious!"

bamitsmeg46 karma

What in your life has made you the happiest? What piece of advice would you give to a young person who hopes to one day have led as full a life as you?

grannyselma9 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny " I had the right parents, chose the right guy, and had the right children. It was sheer luck."

TookieBeckinheim42 karma

What do you think of the upcoming general election, the nominees and the politics surrounding it?

grannyselma159 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "It's scary. It's scary because so many people are angry and upset and voting for a candidate who is so unqualified. I would use Grandpa's quote, my husband's quote, "There is no hope for democracy." Yeah. It's scary. It's very depressing how low the voter turnout is. Only 16% of the voters voted in the Washington primary. What worries me is that how many young people might not vote. Either because they only wanted Bernie, or that they're apathetic."

pleasehelp0012340 karma

How do you feel about death? After achieving so much in your life and beating cancer, are you afraid of anything?

grannyselma142 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"It's not death but it's afraid of losing mental abilities and physical abilities. Mental is the scariest."

Booyacaja39 karma

Do you believe in aliens and that the government is hiding facts from us about this?

grannyselma80 karma

No and No

AkashicRecorder32 karma

Wow, you seemed to have lived a very fulfilling life!

Is there anything you feel you missed out on?

grannyselma68 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"I wish I had taken Latin. I wish I had read the University of Chicago Hundred Best Books. My husband read those while he was getting his PhD I don't know how he did that but he did. I wish I had taken more liberal arts classes. There wasn't time, I had to take so many required science courses. I guess that's it."

hlwroc32 karma

What were your 5k times? Why did you stop running?

grannyselma119 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"I have these written down in my purse, and the times of the men and women that I beat. My time was 55min 33sec when I was 85. The oldest women I beat was 74 and her time was 1hour 33min and the oldest man was 76 and his time was 56min 52sec. It was so fun beating a man who was only 76 years old! I never considered myself a real runner, I was amateur but I didn't have much competition. Woman were told they couldn't run when I was growing up."

yacht_boy30 karma

Hi Granny! I'm also a geologist by training even though I never got the opportunity to work in my field (I now do work with civil engineers to improve wastewater treatment). What kind of things did the CIA want to know about Geology in the 1950s? Did you get to travel undercover?

Not a question, but my grandmother, who was about 10 years older than you, was one of the first women to study botany at Harvard and Yale. She had similar stories about gender discrimination. You might be happy to know that when I graduated from geology school in 2007, about half my class of fellow geo students were women! You ladies blazed a wide trail for future students.

grannyselma33 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"No I didn't travel undercover. They wanted to know. Let's see, how can I word this... CIA wanted to know the geologic nature of countries as applied to military operations. The DIA work I did had to do with- It's hard to tell without disclosing anything. Had to do with nuclear explosions and their purposes. And some of their peaceful explosions and they wanted to know what the purposes were."

"Thank you! I have heard similar stories and actually after the kids were grown and gone to work I found there were many more women."

Kymopoleia23 karma

Are you able to elaborate on 'Danced modern dance for a student of Martha Graham'? I'm intrigued!

grannyselma43 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "Well I loved dancing, everything from tap dancing like Shirley Temple and folk dancing. In college I did some modern dance and graduate school I had very little time. When I came to D.C I looked up dance studios. Someone I worked with, his wife danced for Ethel Butler (student of Martha Graham) so I joined too. I got yelled at all the time, criticized day in and day out. Finally someone said that she was just yelling at me because I was good. Eventually she asked me to join her company, and I loved it. After I was married I decided I would really like to try ballet. So I started ballet classes, and then when my daughters were old enough to take modern dance I also joined them."

Felterklit22 karma

You sound like you are a true badass. What is the crowing achievement in your life?

grannyselma65 karma

I did do a lot, but nothing amazing. Maybe as a scientist entering a Macy's essay contest for a chance be a model was pretty outlandish.

Lucynj199020 karma

How did you get to be so badass?

grannyselma51 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"It was easy!"

CelticKillerSOB19 karma

What is the most amazing moment you have seen in your life?

grannyselma72 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "Most amazing moment, well that would be the birth of my first child. And again, I'm all feminist but I must admit I feel very deeply about my kids."

kdeezey18 karma

What's the biggest difference you see for youth today and youth when you were in your teens or twenties?

grannyselma27 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"Now they have much more freedom, but also they have the dangers of drug abuse and alcohol abuse which was not prevalent in my day. There was a lot of drugs but I had never heard of drugs."

MaoMeowed18 karma

What are your thoughts on Donald Trump's candidacy? What about the comparisons between him and Hitler?

grannyselma44 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "They're very similar. They both create fear. When you make people afraid, they'll do anything. Including voting for him."

reachouttouchFate17 karma

How did the Depression particularly impact your family compared to before? What was daily life like?

grannyselma90 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "I didn't know it was the Depression growing up. My parents didn't tell us that everyone was suffering, I just thought it was our family. The banks failed and my parents lost all of their savings. They had to start over. But my wise mother said that the answer to it was education so she was going to work hard so all of her kids could go to college. She actually did that. But we were also lucky that WWII meant opportunities, especially for woman because it made more jobs. My sister was able to become a dentist. There were very few women dentists those days. Our mother made parachutes. One brother worked in tobacco fields and the other was a carpenter. I worked as a waitress and a sales girl. We all worked hard and went to college and graduate school. All four of us."

jfkincaid16 karma

Are you a rock hound? If so what is your most memorable find? Any clandestine missions involving a geologist's hammer?

grannyselma93 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "No, I'm not really a rock hound. I sort of was when I was in school but I'm not that kind of geologist. I was a geomorphologist." Edit: Added: "I used to collect in college and when I was moving the mover guys would move my trunk and ask, "What do you got in here? Rocks?" And I would say, yeah."

hippiehendrix15 karma

What is your opinion of Jason Mamoa?

grannyselma15 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"Euuh!" I'm not sure how to spell the noise she made. "He looks a little like Sean Penn doesn't he? Ooh scary in some of them. Yeah, I like that one."

wikitimelines13 karma

What is your favorite movie?

grannyselma53 karma

I'm not a big movie fan, but prefer reading. "Gone With the Wind' was probably my favorite.

stupiddroid13 karma

I have a friend who was born in 1919. She's traveled all over the country and the world.

How many states and countries have you been to?

grannyselma35 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "Oh this is where I don't do well. I've only been to Canada and Mexico just right across the border. But I've studied the geology of many countries without ever going there. It was one of our missions. To study the geology without any geology. We had other technical means. That was a challenge."

Redidioter10 karma

Nursing student here, many medical personnel state that they would not personally utilize chemo treatments. What are your first hand opinions on the matter?

grannyselma22 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny "Oh I know it's horrible. I just had a friend that's gone through that. I understand that, but if there are no alternatives, I would probably use it." Edit: "I've had surgery and radiation, but I did not have chemo."

avocadough10 karma

What has been one of the hardest moments of your life?

grannyselma29 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"Death of family members. My husband died suddenly, as did my grandson. My parents and brothers. I'm the only one left."

diegojones49 karma

had the pleasure of beating the women and men in their 70s.

That had to be such a great feeling. Congratulations.

What do you think drives you to excel at everything you set your mind to? You accomplishments are astounding.

grannyselma14 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"Just work hard! Keep moving!"

Beinglewd8 karma

Could you explain the bit about cancer?

grannyselma22 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"It shows a lot about second opinion. The first doctor I saw about my jaw cancer said that he would just take out the left side of my jaw out. My mouth would be on my left side. Eating and talking would be a problem and a year later they would put a metal plate in my mouth. That's when I started to cry. But he second doctor- a woman. Said they had a new procedure, she worked with a plastic surgeon and they removed part of my jaw and they took tissue from my arm and put it in my mouth. It was incredible, at Georgetown University. She said that I would sail though it! It was amazing. When I got out of intensive care. I still don't know if this was an accident or if she planned this but my window looked out on the track and I saw the runners. I thought I had to get out of here! The other cancer was a basal cell cancer and they removed the cancer and removed some skin from my shoulder and put it on my nose. That cancer returned and I had to have radiation, and it worked."


How do you cope when life gets tough? What did you do on those days when it just seemed to you like you couldn't go on, and how did you pull through and come out being the happy and wonderful person you are today?

grannyselma14 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"One, I've been very lucky. I have a wonderful family to support me. I think my education helped. Writing a journal I think is therapeutic. Family and friends to support you. Being able to read helpful things."

skineechef7 karma

What was a moment (if any) that you thought was perfect?

grannyselma24 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"My first child being born."

Edit: "And when my son was born! I was so happy I had a boy! And when my third was born and she was okay. They put her in an incubator which I hadn't heard of."

radii3147 karma

what do you think of the phrase The more things change the more they stay the same ?

grannyselma8 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"I agree."

jjc556 karma

Do you have daughters? Did you encourage them to push limits the way you did? Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Yours is an awesome story I will share with my daughters!

grannyselma9 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"Wow! Yes yes and yes! This is so important! My mother pushed me and my sister, and I tried. And also granddaughters. They can't just get married and depend on a man to support them. And education helps."

Hensanddogs5 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA.

Did you experience much sexism as a female geologist? If so, how did you cope with it?

All the best to you.

grannyselma9 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"There was a superstition that woman would bring bad luck if they go in the mine. I didn't get to go in Franklin Furnace New Jersey where they have iridescent minerals. I got to sit on the dump while all the guys came out and told me how wonderful it was and exaggerate because they wanted to make me feel bad, it was teasing they weren't really mean. I got to go in a coal mine though, it was the most miserable place in the world. And we had to have shots before we went into the field and they'd tease and say that they used corkscrew needles."

bob___dull3 karma

Do you remember where you were on V-J day (WW2)?

grannyselma3 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"I was working as a waitress at a lake and I didn't have any news. I just got word of mouth, it was a remote vacation place."

SomeConsumer3 karma

What are some of your favorite books you've read recently?

grannyselma3 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and Give Us The Ballot by Ari Berman"

irollmaddeepyo3 karma

Grey Panthers is unfamiliar to me, even though I've studied plenty of film history dealing solely with the Black Panthers. What about the Grey Panthers would you like other people to know versus what we already know about the Black Panthers?

grannyselma2 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"It's a totally different group. Gray Panthers are an inter-generational group who was concerned with all major issues that are interrelated. I worked mostly on peace and healthcare reform."

Buttonno3 karma

What as it like to live through WWII? What's your favorite decade? What were your thoughts about technology back then and what do you think now about how it has changed?

grannyselma2 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"It was frightening because the whole idea of a war was scary. All of the guys in my class were drafted into the war. So there were no guys in my undergraduate, which was very strange. My brother was in the war but he made it back safely. My father was an air raid warden. It was strange and scary, that's all I can say. Every time an airplane went over we worried it was a German plane. But it was an unusual war because everyone was involved somehow."

"The 1950's when a lot of things were happening in my personal life, that were good. I was married and I had three kids."

"We didn't really think much about technology, but we had TVs. Now it's just incredibly amazing. "

youknownuthin2 karma

What do you think about mental illness ie. Depression, Social Anxiety?

Do you think it's just something we developed more and more due to a lack of stimulation or is it something that you've seen even before it was diagnosable and had a larger awareness about?

grannyselma2 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"It seems to me they're making progress but it's another thing that's a long way from what we need. It's more widespread than we've ever thought. The latter, even before it was diagnosable and had a large awareness."

Jengazi2 karma

How did it feel to be (maybe) watching things like the Moon landings, or any other space missions in that era?

grannyselma9 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"Oh you know what, we were at the beach when we landed on the moon so we didn't have a TV. So we looked through someone's window to watch it. Peeking in as we walked home."

Songal2 karma

Did you remember Black Tuesday? If you did, how did you/your family react?

grannyselma3 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"No I was too young."

mrkruze2 karma

How have you stayed motivated throughout your life?

grannyselma2 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"It's easy! I have a wonderful family and many good friends."

TMW_7522 karma

If you could tell a few things to the newest generations of children, what would they be?

Kudos for all of your accolades, you seem like an incredible person.

Thank you!

grannyselma6 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"Keep moving! Keep moving! Read, read, read! Yeah that's what William Faulkner said."

ItAintSoSweet2 karma

Why/How did you join the Gray Panthers? Did you face much adversity while working in reform?

Since you seem to be a very progressive woman, do you feel that our country has made adequate progress in equal rights, tolerance and acceptance, etc? Or did you think we would be farther ahead in the fight by now?

grannyselma8 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"I joined because while I was working I couldn't do any political activites, it was against the law. I joined the Gray Panthers because they were involved in all the major issues which are interrelated. Most people think the Gray Panthers are all old people but it started during the Vietnam war, protesting it. Most of them were younger."

"Yes we were a minority, protesting the first Iraq war. One of the scariest times I've ever been in. I was in this protest and they were going to meet me somewhere, half a mile away maybe. I got separated and I saw this massive group of people coming towards me with my little peace sign on and they were a scary looking bunch. I was by myself but I made it back to my friends. They had been a bunch of pro-war activists."

"I wish were further along in civil rights. We've made some progress but not nearly enough. There's still problems with voting rights and still too much prejudice."

beth140022 karma

Just wondering about any regrets you may have? Any advice on what to avoid or do?

grannyselma2 karma

Granddaughter here, typing for Granny

"Avoid refined carbs. Don't do drugs. Nancy Reagan used to say "Just say no" I hate that."