Celebrating Audrey Brady

Today is my Grandma’s 98th Birthday.

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If you like to play golf, then you need to give her a hug.  We wouldn’t be here without her!

She was born in Des Moines in 1915.

Audrey 4 mos oldThe oldest of 8 children.  Only 6 of whom lived into adulthood.

front row - Eugene, Wendell, Mary Alice, and Mary back row -

Front Row: Father, Eugene Suddeth, Brother Wendell, sister Mary Alice and Mother Mary
Back Row: Thelma, Audrey (my grandma), Alna, and Dale, her brother.

She always says that all of her siblings were her babies.  Her mom had polio, so she was unable to walk very well and later in life ended in a wheelchair, so Audrey was her mom’s helper from day one.

Audrey, Wendell, Thelma

Left to Right: Audrey, Wendell & Thelma

She grew up in Des Moines.  Her dad worked for the post office.  He loved his job and worked there for over 40 years.  Here are her parents at the Iowa State Fair.  This is where they were engaged.  Her mom was only 18 when she got engaged.

Gene (20 yrs) and Mary (18 yrs) at Iowa State Fair 1913 - where he proposed

Grandma can make even the grumpiest of school kids enjoy school.  She loved to learn and always talks about how much she loved the smell of the school building and how she loved the sound of opening a book for the first time.  She went to Amos Hiatt in Des Moines.

Audrey with Wendell and Thelma in cart

Audrey with her sister, Thelma and brother, Wendell.

Here is a shot of all of her school friends on their way to school.  They rode a wagon drawn by a horse.

Everyone who rode the wagon to school with Audrey.  Audrey w

It’s so fun to hear her talk about her school years.  She is a graduate of East High School.  This last year, she attended the East High School Alumni banquet.  She was the oldest classmate there.  She was celebrating her 80th year class reunion!  When the reunion was over, everyone came up to give her a hug.  She told me, “I felt like a celebrity.  You know how everyone wants to get a look at a celebrity?  They were all in line to see what an old lady looks like!”

Audrey 1933

Grandma’s Senior Picture

Here she is with her youngest sister, Mary Alice.  Mary is the only living sibling that Grandma has left.  It’s broken her heart to bury all of her siblings, but they were all strong in the Lord, so she finds comfort in that.

Audrey age 17 and Mary Alice

She got married to my grandpa when she turned twenty.  Her parents didn’t want her to get married until she was twenty, so she got married on her 20th birthday.  They loved one another deeply.  He was always showering her with gifts and praise.  They were the best grandparents.

Dale and Audrey

Dale and Audrey had three children.  My uncle, Dan, my dad, Tom and my uncle, Steve.  Raising three boys was no easy task.  Grandpa was often gone because he owned a business called Brady Manufacturing where he created farm equipment.  He traveled a lot overseas, so Grandma was left to care for the boys.  Her sister, Thelma, lived in California.  One time, Grandma drove out to see her with the three boys riding in the back seat of the car.  She had to bring a yard stick along, so she could make sure they were behaving while she was driving.  I’m sure seat belts would have come in handy when raising three boys, but they weren’t invented.

She has seen so many things invented.  Running water, electricity, appliances, microwaves, plastic, televisions, mobile phones, computers.  The list is endless.  A lifetime of memories and improvements. It’s fun to visit with her about it.  She makes a history book come to life!  Grandma remembers rationing sugar and gasoline in the 40’s.  She can tell you where she when JFK was shot or when the Apollo landed.  She can remember their first television and watching Howdy Dowdy.

As a family, they often went to Minnesota or Okoboji to get away.

Family at Okobogi Lake L - R Tom, Dale, Steve, Audrey, Dan a

Left to Right: Tom, Dale, Steve, Audrey, Dan and Dale’s father, Dan

It has been thirty years since my Grandpa passed away.  He died shortly before her 68th birthday in October 1983.  Although they had nine grandchildren, he never got to see any of us marry.  Here’s grandma at my cousin, Kelly’s, wedding.  The first grandchild to marry.

Paul and Maxin Malcolm, Kelly & Darin Sloan, Audrey

When I was a small child, we always went over to Grandma’s house every Sunday after church for Sunday Dinner.  Her house was always filled with relatives, friends and sometimes people she had just met.  There was always plenty of food.  Here I am with my cousin, Mathew, getting ready for an afternoon of play at Grandma’s house.  We were always up to something.

Allison & Mathew

Now that I’m an adult, Grandma is still busy in her kitchen.  We no longer go to her house every Sunday, but my kids have definitely spent many Sundays eating lunch around Grandma’s table.

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She is known for her bounty of food!

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Grandma is a night owl.  When I was a teenager, I’d come home late a night and I could always see the lights on in my grandma’s house.  I can’t even count how many quilts she has made over the years.  Probably thousands. It’s what keeps her busy into the wee hours of the night.

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She has been my only grandparent since I was seven years old.  I have always loved every minute that I spend with her.  When we were in elementary, she used to pick up my cousin and me from school and we’d play golf together.  Grandma would let us drive the cart and we would blast the radio.  She would just laugh.  

As long as I have known her, she has been a baby whisperer.  To this day, she can calm a crying baby.  Gently singing her endless repertoire of lullabies.  

I know that all of my cousins have many fond stories of times they spend with Grandma.  In fact, most people that I meet have fond memories of my grandma.

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That’s me, Allison, with Grandma

She and Grandpa raised their three kids in Altoona.  In fact, she still has the same phone number that she had when it was only 4 digits long.  They simply added the 967 portion as the population increased.  We went a few years ago to visit that house where she raised her boys because it was for sale and we wanted to look at it.  My uncle Steve pointed out the BB gun hole that is still in one of the windows.  It was left from shooting the gun inside of the house!  Dad pointed out the knife marks in the paneling of the basement.  Yep.  Left from the boys who threw knives at the wall.  They were quite a group of boys.

Grandma has a positive attitude about life.  She handles diversity and leads by example.  She is a strong Christian lady.  If we lost the bible tomorrow, I’m pretty sure she has the whole thing memorized, so we could just get her to write it all down.

People often ask how we can work with our family.  We’re with each other day in and day out.  It’s pretty unusual to have a family business these days.  We have five living generations in our family.  There’s literally a Bunch of Bradys!

Grandma has taught us how to get along and that example makes running a family business easy.  She loves us unconditionally.  I feel so blessed to have her in my life.  I wish her a very happy 98th birthday!

Post by Allison

I have an amazing husband. Three entertaining children and I work for my family's business. What's that mean? It means I work too much and do the jobs no one else wants to do. The benefit is that I got to make up my title. The Wizard of Fun. It's one of the advantages of working at the family's business. You get to make up titles. I decided I need to share all my adventures and misadventures with the world. At the very least, my mom. She'll read just about anything.

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