As you may have imagined, the person typing and facilitating this AMA is not the 100 year old human, but his granddaughter, me!

A little bit about my grandpa: he grew up in Washington State, and has traveled quite a bit. He worked for the FDA for many years, some as an investigator, some as a pharmacist. He served in the air force during World War 2 as a photographer.

Clearly there's more to him than this, so ask him some questions!


Y'all he is enjoying this so much! He's flabbergasted at how many people are asking questions and upvoting him, at first he thought it was all people I knew haha. He's so happy! We're gonna take a little break, some of my family just arrived for a visit.

4:14 PM ET: we're back! gonna knock out some more questions until I have to dip. Appreciate all the interest! Sorry he sometimes misunderstands some questions aha.

With a lot of these I'll ask him and he says 'let me think about that a bit' and I'll circle back and I guess he hasn't finished thinking about them - so sorry for those still waiting! lol

5:05 PM ET: So he's starting to fall asleep as I ask him questions, so I think we're gonna call it a day aha. He's in rehab for a broken hip right now, and a bit forgetful and confused at times, so hopefully that will give some explanation to some of the stranger answers he's said. Thank you so much for everyone who asked things and commented and told stories and thanked him, he is just so pleased!!! I'll go through this as I'm able and answer what I can from my perspective. Next time I visit him, I'll try to get a few more answered. He'll remember this for a long time. Thank you all, SO MUCH!!!

11/6/19 5:39 PM ET: Hi all! I stopped by my grandpa's current place today and asked and answered a few more questions! He gets tired pretty quickly, and tends to say "I need to think about that" for things that aren't direct (broad questions like "meaning of life" and such), so for further questions I would encourage more specific questions. I'll continue asking him things as we're able - there are a lot to go through, but I and we appreciate the interest so much - every time I update him about the number of upvotes, his face lights up :)

While we're here and this has so much visibility (god-DAMN), I've gotta put this out there, cause I'd really love to have the opportunity to live as long as my grandpa has: WE NEED CLIMATE ACTION!!! We are currently headed down a very dangerous path, due to the fault of the super-wealthy who have gotten rich off of fossil fuels and extractive industries and covered up the negative consequences that will have a disproportionate harmful effect on poor people both in the future and now (BOOOO). While the situation is dire, THERE IS HOPE!!! But only if we come together and take an ACTIVE role in politics - local, state, and national - pushing for climate solutions! The easiest way to do this is, of course, to get good people into office who will push for climate justice so we don't have to be in the streets all the time, so vote responsibly - make sure that human isn't just greenwashing while still taking money from fossil fuel industry, but is taking REAL action (coughBERNIEandAOCareGREATcough)! And, if you are able, please please PLEASE join a climate justice organization, or donate to one - it has given me a great sense of community and solace being in the Sunrise Movement, being around people who are scared about the future just like me and learning about what to do about it together - it's been a truly transformative influence in my life, and I am so thankful for that. Links below for some organizations I like (but there are definitely others, so please, look them up and find one right for you!) (note: while my grandpa is not super hip about all the aspects of climate change, I have shared my life with him and he has been super supportive of me in my journey of action, and for that I am so grateful) JOIN, TAKE ACTION, SUPPORT THE GREEN NEW DEAL, AND/OR DONATE PLEASE, I WANT US ALL TO LIVE AS LONG AS MY GRANDPA <3

thicc list:

Comments: 5125 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

pointlessly_pedantic8741 karma

Has reaching ten decades given you any new insight?

fallenangel363315396 karma

"The world is a mess." (laughs) "I may want to modify that answer later."

DennyDays8134 karma

What was the most tense moment of your life?

fallenangel363316477 karma

"When I stepped forward to get married. No kidding, just briefly, I thought I was gonna faint when the pastor asked those questions."

gabeerwin7358 karma

My great grandmother lived to 108 and she told the best stories about life and learning. What is one thing you’d like to share with younger generations?

fallenangel363311937 karma

"Just use common sense!"

noelleon4147061 karma

I heard you have a pretty cool granddaughter. Not the one in that photo. She's okay I guess. A different one, who is clearly far superior. How does it feel to have such a cool granddaughter? Again, not that one. The other one.

fallenangel36334022 karma

"I froze out!" (laughs) "I'll work on that later!"

llllIIIIllIIlIIl6696 karma

Wow, that's a long time to be alive. Now, what HASN'T changed in your life? Something that you believe always has been and may always will be.

fallenangel36338891 karma

"Common sense"

Luv_Big_Krizzle5682 karma

Most shocking thing you photographed in WWII that you did not expect?

fallenangel36336734 karma

"Let's not put it on what I photographed. In Normandy, of all the areas that photo planes did, was the total area that they put into pictures, that ended up in something like 10000 total prints. We'll add something later on", he says

r4k04588 karma

Living 100 years, what was the biggest leap of technology that you've experienced? What seemed the most "unreal" when it came out.

fallenangel36334604 karma

"The artillery guns and others were equipped with equipment that could detect when other objects were nearby and go off even though it had not been aimed it. That technology was used also for groundfire."

"There was a time during the pacific part of the war that US forces did not know where the Japanese fleet was. The CO of the 8th photo, which was also in my general area, was flying on a photo mission and saw the Japanese fleet. He hightailed his way home squawking on his radio. The radios was good for 35 miles. That resulted in a US navy dealing with the Japanese fleet, both air and navy."

fallenangel36333348 karma

On computers: "It was something that took me a while to catch on to, and how to use it." When they first became a thing, he was "Awed"

On television: "Essentially the same answer"

7pharaohs4555 karma

What do you know at 100 years old, that wish you knew far earlier?

fallenangel36336567 karma

"Answer delayed"

"That's a sticker... how to work with other people"

fallenangel36334429 karma

I'll put his more rambling answers to questions that haven't been asked yet haha.

"During the war with Japan, there was periods of time that the Navy would set forth on the map a 30 mile stay-out area, and it was such we had to go back in and photograph it but in the meantime we photographed outside of the 30 mile radius. When I say we, I mean the photo-planes. Flight __ was in the area to fill in the 30 mile circle that hadn't been photographed when the president announced the bombing of Hiroshima." Right after the president announced, everyone was scrambling to see what flight foreign air would bring back, because our cameras were used to make pictures 18 inches wide 9 inches deep, in europe they used the same camera with a lens arrangement taking 5 inches square fo wherever they were flying. And so the word came down to my repaitrmen and me that our cameras better not fail this time because they had longer service periods than those in europe. In the theater, we thought those photographs were very restricted. Within less than several weeks, our pictures were in some of the public photo magaiznes.

The japanese had invaded some western part of the phillipinnnes. the photo planes photographed where they were. prints were made, all large size, at least 8 by 10 or larger, and they were asked to deliver by air to the ground troops near the japanese. The first attempt at that, they dropped a package of them, but it got torn up, so they asked for further prints, and they said this time...

"The p-30 photos took pictures. the first picture stopped, did ht ephoto work, took the pi. They put a red flag on a pole, please see if you can come close to it. The pilot who came knocked the red flag down. he radioed back, is that close enough?"

"During college, I was in pharmacy and the baptist church rented a room where once a week people could gather there and have a fish and chip lunch for 35 cents..."

"I graduated in highschool in 1937, was one of the few boys in a school of 300 that had his own car, that's because I went out and got a job delivering papers that I enjoyed doing. Several things I learned from the gas station, there was a fella that had a Cadillac Oldsmobile and every time he went somewhere it would squeak, the dealers tried to fix it but I figured out what to do due to my dads suggestion to me to figure out how something works then do it. That way I can give help to my dad, my father in law, and other people I knew"

His dad was very mechanically oriented

Any-sao4196 karma

Thanks for joining us on reddit today.

My question: Have you been to Germany or Japan since the war? What were your thoughts?

fallenangel36337015 karma

"The wife and I have been to Germany since for vacation. I've been to Japan since in regard to FDA regulations. Just looking at their food habits, and their environment, just appreciating what they had."

Mama_Bat3449 karma

What’s a food you loved in the past that doesn’t taste the same anymore?

fallenangel36335039 karma

"Good home fries!" (laughs) "I'll have to think about that."

"We got more acquainted with lamb instead of beef."

I can say he loves his oysters, always has and always will!

wolwerine20202894 karma

Is there anything from his younger days that he truly regrets doing/not doing to this day?

fallenangel36336312 karma

Regret: "Not marrying Audrey earlier!" (laughs)

Audrey was his wife.

thebestatheist2107 karma

What's the best and worst thing about being 100 years old?

fallenangel36333408 karma

Best thing: "Being alive" (laughs)

cleo-the-geo1674 karma

I recently came across a shoebox full of letters that my great grandparents wrote to each other during WWII.

Did you have anyone you were writing sweetheart letters to?

fallenangel36333282 karma

For general letters: "Just a few people I met in the service, Airforce"

For sweetheart "there was a girl in studyhall every other seat in the auditorium. I liked her very much. She had a spanish book, i looked to the other side of me, another girl had a dictionary, I used her dictionary to write to the first one, she thought I knew spanish but I didn't, she was mad at me"

fallenangel36331556 karma

"One of the training things our p 38 is photograph various things widespread. one pilot flew to the grand canyon and photographed the underside of the big bridge, when he got back to colorado springs he was there with scissors to cut off the underside of the bridge because that was illegal kind of flying. Not many people saw that."

WinterText1345 karma

what was his favorite plane that he got to photograph? WWII or anything afterwards.

and thank you for your service, sir.

fallenangel36331645 karma

"P-38 fighter/photo. The fighter aircraft was used mainly in Europe area. The photo area was used to take the guns out, put in 2 or 3 sets of cameras, and the prints/negatives that were produced were 18 inches wide and 9 inches deep. Most of those photos were made around 20,000 feet, so that gives you the scale for how you want to measure it. The P-38 was used somewhat in the Pacific." "The p-38 was an escort for the bombers, but it was mainly recognized as a fighter plane, but around Europe, big river there, they put 150 and 300 pound bombs and made them into bombers, because the Germans would look up, 'oh they're just taking photos', and kaboom!"

fiendishrabbit1211 karma

What did you do in the years after the war? Was it directly back to school or something else?

fallenangel36331926 karma

"Got my license in pharmacy, saw recruitment for FDA and joined them, and traveled to see how other people lived"

NotThatDumb221147 karma

Military or not, what achievement has made you happiest in life?

fallenangel36332317 karma

"Having an excellent family and superb friends."

evetrixX917 karma

how's it like watching your children actually grow old?

fallenangel36331477 karma

"A great delight"

kgeee34855 karma

What was the biggest change you noticed while working for the FDA for many years?

fallenangel36331220 karma

"How FDA regulations assured quality food, drugs, cosmetics."

Xiaolinn648 karma

Dear sir,

I don't have a question really but as a man that was in a war torn country in my youth (Bosnia) I want to say that without people like you lift my spirits up by a huge margin. I remember being there as a kid and seeing US soldiers riding the tanks through the streets and I would wave at them and EVERY SINGLE TIME they waved back. This is more than just "being nice" this wave back made a kid like myself feel safe and more at ease in a place filled with destruction and death, and that goes a long way.

My grandparents were in WWII as well, and that was by far the worst of the worst wars, the worst of humanity's evil side was in that war (but also the best). To have been a part of literally the world's good vs evil conflict cannot go unforgotten and without all of us thanking you. So please, take it from me a random Bosnian guy on the internet, we truly appreciate you and are forever grateful for you and we literally owe you guys our lives.

Thank you, you are loved by a lot of people please never forget that.

as far as a question, here is one:

When you came home from WWII, after greetings your family and getting rest etc. When you found yourself alone with noone around, what was the first thing you did alone?

Thank you again I can't say it enough


omg thank you guys for my first gold and award things (I'm sorry I don't know the proper terms lol). This really made my day, thank you guys!

fallenangel3633545 karma

I read this to him and he got a big smile :) as for the question he says "Leave that unanswered for the moment"

Nixplosion585 karma

Did you fathom ever reaching 100? Perhaps it's cliche to ask, but, what is it like reaching such a milestone?

fallenangel3633867 karma

"I dreamed of being able to do that, and I did it!" and "An impossible question" (laughs)

Futureboy314583 karma

I have two questions that I would love to hear the perspective of an aged gentleman on:

1) What was it like when you learned of the atomic bomb? This is such a huge turning point in human history that I can’t help but imagine the ramifications must have felt huge.

2) Similar to question one, what was it like when you learned that humans had walked on the moon? Both of these (the bomb and the moon) are things we take for granted now, but at the time they must have been a massive paradigm shift. Can you share your thoughts?

Many thanks for your time, and for your service!

fallenangel3633462 karma

  1. "It was a fantastic illustration of science." He says he wasn't scared about the bomb "because people did not understand what the atomic bomb was"

  2. "Very surprising illustration of science." He was in Mount Baker, Washington. He didn't watch it at the time, but "the word got out, don't drive faster than 35 miles per hour - boy it took forever to get home. The state made a law change, save gasoline and avoid accidents." He heard about it later on

Shishkabob414411 karma

His photo group took the first pictures of Hiroshima after the bombing

Azaj1188 karma

For anyone who doesn't realise, this is the dad

cunninglinguist9688 karma

He must be really old

fallenangel3633186 karma

Oh yeah, he's gonna be a great great grandpa soon!

Ayham_abusalem567 karma

Was the food you ate at war any good?

fallenangel3633819 karma

"Some was, some was not, mainly getting used to the lamb."

KJ_andP_since2017489 karma

Hello! What are your favorite memories of working for the FDA?

fallenangel3633714 karma

"Meeting new people and seeing how the FDA law protected good people"

KyserTheHun469 karma

Hello Sir, thank you for your service. Which theater did you photograph? It was quite a long time ago but do you have any memories that stand out? Were you issued any weapons? (M1?)

fallenangel3633649 karma

"From New Guinea to Japan, and everything in-between.

Have to think about that.

As for weapons, 45 pistol."

jessiecpt417 karma

Thank you so much for your service! Can you tell me who your favorite President was in your lifetime?

fallenangel3633667 karma

"Hoover. he was not very popular, but he was a good president. Just what you'd read about him, that's all. That's all you have to go on."

Mollusktshirt350 karma

What kind of camera did he work with during WWII? Did photography always feel like work, or was it ever fun/a hobby?

fallenangel3633523 karma

"Started with Kodak boxcamera. Then moved to 35 mm, can't remember the name. Then got a press camera, 4 by 5 prints.

It was a fun hobby even at work! To make people realize what was involved.

Certain things we did, we used black-light crayons, and particularly we photographed with the back-light rodents path, mice and rats, and we can show that later how they damaged food that was in storage. I'll explain more on that later."

Writeman2244348 karma


fallenangel3633536 karma

"To be answered later"

rezku__301 karma

Firstly, thanks for your service!

What are the three things you learned in your life, traveling and encountering the cruelness of WW2? What are those three advices you would give your grandchildren(daugther)?

fallenangel3633642 karma

"When you see something you don't understand, then use whatever research situation you have to find out more about it and how it can help you in your life (Also, how to find a beautiful blond wife)" (laughs)

bruh319285 karma

After all you've been through, what motivates you to do things nowadays?

fallenangel3633565 karma

"Mainly my one specific granddaughter"

Damn okay I'm a lil teary-eyed :)))

townie_immigrant274 karma

What’s one thing that you remember from your experiences that doesn’t fail to make you smile?

fallenangel3633652 karma

Whenever he talks about his late wife, Audrey, there is a light that illuminates his entire being. He loved her so much. She died a little after I was born, so I didn't get to know her unfortunately. His calendar in his bedroom is still on the month/year that she died. She was very dear to him

lusophiliac247 karma

Did you ever smoke tobacco?

fallenangel3633529 karma

"Only on specific assignments of undercover work."

At medical appointments I've taken him to, for the questionnaire he's always said "never." I guess it took a stranger asking to find the truth!

high_mike238 karma

What did you eat to get to 100 years old?

fallenangel3633401 karma

"A lot of oysters!"

Neuvillerl234 karma

What's the best advice you can give a young adult who is unsure of where they are headed in life?

fallenangel3633438 karma

"Might set up on Pikes Peak and say my opinions, but Pikes Peak might be too high and the words are lost"

bigbaggyjumper215 karma

Of all the years you've lived - have you had a favorite? Why?

fallenangel3633434 karma

"April 19, 1919 to now!" (laughs)

truechange202 karma

What is your diet like? Fav food?

fallenangel3633470 karma

His diet up until being in rehab (broke his hip a couple of weeks ago) was pretty rich, would go between his 2 favorite restaurants every night!

"Rich salmon!" And definitely oysters, as soon as he was out of surgery he was like "When can I get oysters?"

e_vaz198 karma

What was the best decade?

fallenangel3633344 karma

"I'm not that prolific" (laughs) "It's hard to set one out from another, I've got to give a lot of thought to that"

pantsmeplz161 karma

Congrats on 100 trips around the sun. I hope there was joy in each one.

Any regrets? Any advice on being happy? And are you hopeful for humanity?

When your time does come, may you be surrounded by loved ones.

Edit to add:

My father-in-law served in the infantry in the Philippines during WWII and experienced jungle warfare. He never spoke of it to my wife or me, but to say it was horrific.

fallenangel3633166 karma

On regrets: "no"

On happiness: "Make sure your facts are straight."

On humanity: "Oh yeah, yes"

IamROCKAS159 karma

Could you just give your grandfather a hug and thank him for all the wonderful things he's done and still doing? Sharing his experience with the common folk of reddit at his age deserves a lot of respect.

fallenangel3633122 karma

:) will do!

zjp3153 karma

What is your favorite movie?

fallenangel3633290 karma

"I don't see that many movies to know"

"What I do enjoy is when they do exploration of Egypt and so on, historical, and that in effect is a movie"

Barziboy129 karma

Who was the most influential person you’ve met over your life?

fallenangel3633260 karma

"My dad and my mother, by the standards they held"

Anthropomorphic_Man116 karma

How do you feel about how you’ve used your 100 years so far and if you could go back to any time and give your past self some advice, when and what would it be?

fallenangel3633205 karma

"listen carefully"

zappapostrophe111 karma

What’s the earliest song you remember hearing?

fallenangel3633202 karma

On music he enjoys: "Not modern times" He doesn't recall one specific song, but definitely enjoys classical music. He used to listen exclusively to WETA when he drove, and when we lived together I loved waking up to blaring classical/oldy music from the TV

PhoenixBLAZE583 karma

What is the best joke you've heard?

fallenangel3633172 karma

He says he has to think about it

"The man upstairs is watching out for you, taking care of you - and he hasn't decided whether he wants to bring you upstairs or not!" This was when he was at church with some pastors discussing his age and one of the pastors came up with this zinger, and now he tells everyone it :)

ghanfari50 karma

Hello sir, I'm from morocco, I heard about your story and this is amazing. Sir I 25 years old, you have more experience in this life. So I will tell you my story: I m weak sir, I don't have the power to stand in this word, every night I think about suicide, I 'm frech graduade, still I can't find a job, I can't find love, in the early stages of my life my only friends were books. And still now I can't find the meaning of life, I think every day abaiu if this life deserve to be like that. So sir my question: what is the meaning of life ? How can we leave with happiness ? With your exeprience how can someone like be be happy in this life? Thank you and have a nice day sir Best regards

fallenangel3633138 karma

This is just the granddaughter right now, but I will ask him this next I see him.

I'm 23. I want to say some words to you. While I don't know you, I don't believe you are weak. If every night you think about suicide and yet you don't listen to the lies your brain tells you, that makes you very very strong in my book. As for being a fresh graduate and not being able to find a job, or a job in your major: that does NOT define you, that does NOT define your worth in this world; as a recent graduate myself, I know it's hard, it's so hard specializing in something and then not being able to find a job in that thing you're passionate about right away; but let me tell you, your human worth DOES NOT depend on your possession of a job (that's honestly what the "system" wants you to think). As for love, I would say from my experience I think that I only found it when I stopped desperately searching and wishing and projecting my desires on other people, however I know that was just my personal barrier and everyone is different and has different love lifes/issues/whatever. I so feel you about the only friends being books thing - I didn't learn a lot of social skills growing up, so I feel like I've had to do extra work to learn them now as an adult. It's hard, but it's so worth it, even though it's painful and it requires putting yourself out there and being open to the world and receptive to learning, I have made true growth as a person from doing these things continually to improve myself. I read a lil book thing about how to get closer to people - please, let me know if you would like it and I will send it to you electronically. And, as for the meaning of life... That's a damn tough one. I'm still unsure... but everything I've learned so far (props to buddhism and mindfulness) is pointing me towards the conclusion that there is no real, solid, concrete destination/meaning of life, but that the meaning of life is the journey itself, to try to help others be happy and to try to follow what makes you happy, even if the goal and the present are very far away; when we are going somewhere and look on a GPS, we don't wonder "man why didn't I just teleport??" but I've found that thought to be present in my life, of "I am here now and here is bad so why am I not at that goal???" But that's an incorrect way of thinking; I now try to keep in mind that life is a process, and as long as I am making efforts to move towards that goal of mine, even though I'm not there yet, then that is good, and that is all I can do. I hope this helps!