Episode 100 – The Legacy of a Centenarian

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This past week my grandfather reached “centenarian” status.

He’s not the first to achieve this milestone, and won’t be the last.

On his birthday, a funeral was held across town for his sister-in-law who lived 102 years and 10 months.

These individuals have seen a lot of history, and made their own along the way.

For this 100th episode of the Move Your Desk show, I share a few tidbits from his personal life, work, travel adventures, family, and service. The home he built continues to be a gathering place for our family to enter at our own risk – to experience the stories of the past, the lessons learned, the regrets, the hopes, the dreams, the sorrows, and the expectations of life.

I laugh and cry a little in this episode. It really doesn’t do my thoughts, feelings or my grandfather justice. But, it’s what came out of me at this time.

I’m glad that I got to see him, in person, on his 100th birthday. Though his body has declined in the last 5-6 years, his mind is still sharp. And, he still lit up when he saw us despite immobility and isolation due to age and virus restrictions. His sense of adventure (and love of flying) is thwarted right now, but he’s contributing to the world in ways he doesn’t realize at this time.

Happy Birthday Grandpa Clark! I love you.

A nod to all the flights (those that were successful and those that were a bit of a crash)

“If you can walk away from a landing, it’s a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it’s an outstanding landing.” – Chuck Yeager

Episode 100 Show Notes

Episode 100 Transcript

This is Rebecca Clark. Episode 100 The Legacy of a Centurion. This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work, but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? One beautiful summer morning in Idaho. I was awakened from my teenage sleep by the sound of firecrackers and they sounded dangerously close. And I thought, What on earth is this? Uh huh. You hear? These little popping noise is taking place. And as I came further to, I realized that these firecrackers were really close and they were creating little burned holes in the tent that I was staying in. And I remember is this bright orange tent that we had growing up, that we took on all of our trips for the times that we would be camping. And I thought, What is going on? Of course, you try to get the zipper opened of the tent and try to get out and see what’s happening, and I get out and finds that Grandpa Clark is thinking that he has done the funniest thing ever by lighting about 100 tiny firecrackers not really realizing the consequences of doing that beyond the fun noise, it would make toe wake up his grandchildren that were sleeping in various tents across his yard. It was startling, and it was funny. And that tent had those burn marks for the rest of its existence so that we could remember Grandpa Clark and some of his antics. I don’t know if it was on the same trip or a different trip, where he took me and a couple of my siblings up for an airplane ride. My grandfather, Clark, loves airplanes, and he owned 48 of them in his life and on Lee wrecked three of them, and when I say wrecked, I mean he was flying them and crashed on. He didn’t actually fly all of the airplanes he purchased, some he had purchased and find out after he purchased it that he couldn’t fit in it or it wasn’t right or he just didn’t prefer it. But he took us up in the air in small town Idaho from small town airport, and we were flying around until he suddenly said, I think we’re out of guests now. First you pause and think Well, of course, Grandpa checked the gas gauge before we went on this trip. But of course I had these stories in my mind of the adventures that Grandpa went on and he had already had some of these wrecks in his life before I went on this little plane ride. And so I was really worried that we were out of gas. All I know is we fiddled around for a few minutes and then we came and landed, and I will never know whether we were actually out of gas or if he was trying to scare us a little bit. You never know with Grandfather Clark. He’s quite the storyteller, and he’s quite ah, lot of other things. I thought it would be great to mix in some lessons learned in parts of my grandfather’s life for this 1/100 podcast episode. And the reason for it is because it’s February of 2021 my grandfather turned 100 years old this month. In the last few years, he’s actually been in a rehabilitation center because he had a fall when he had a stroke. But for the rest of his life he was out and about doing lots of things. And since this podcast is for people that are compelled to find an offer up their best work, I thought it appropriate to include someone who has turned 100 years old and had had many types of work in his life. My grandfather was born in 1921. So when you hear that year, it can bring up all kinds of things for you. But what that means is he’s gone through the Depression. He’s gone through many wars, and he’s gone through whole lot of other experiences that he created for himself or was a part of. And I’m going to share a few tidbits of different facts about him, and you get to decide what you think about it. Because my grandfather was just like you and me. He was imperfectly, he had his challenges. He had tremendous faith that he could do certain things while also repeatedly saying in his personal history that he felt less than not confident and ashamed about what he did and didn’t know in life. And it’s so interesting to see that all wrapped up into one person while simultaneously recognizing that that’s every single person on this planet. We are a mixture of this confidence in this fear and this faith and this resolve and doing the best that we can in the moment that we have to do something and some people will agree with the choices we make and some will not. Some of our choices will benefit ourselves and others. Some of those choices will hurt ourselves and others, and we often don’t know that in the moment. And that’s the case of my grandfather. He was born in Star Valley, Wyoming, and he had the kind of growing up. I guess, that someone in Star Valley, Wyoming, would have filled with adventure filled with trials filled with possibilities. As my dad tells me, there was no limits to what his father thought was possible. He grew up in the Wild West, but somehow he decided to go to college at Brigham Young Academy and Provo, Utah. And that’s where he met my grandmother, Elizabeth Hanks, and she was a couple years ahead of him in school, and my grandmother graduated from college as a teacher with a normal degree. I guess it’s called, and I am very privileged because both of my grandmothers had college degrees and both of my grandfathers went to college. But they were just shy of graduating. For various reasons. My grandfather did not pass a physical, which meant he could not goto war. And so during this time, he married my grandmother, but then proceeded to leave to be a volunteer missionary for his church. So he was often New York State. And then my grandmother joined him. She went and became a mission areas Well, but after this mission was done, they came back and lived in the Western United States and started their family and move forward with all the various jobs and homes and things associate it with that. My grandfather rarely held a steady job. He waas at one point a county assessor. But if you look at most of his other jobs, they were temporary and quite entrepreneurial. He was a teacher. Ah, house mover, a judge, a builder, an investor, a trader, a crop farmer and a real estate owner and seller. I can guarantee you have never met someone like my grandfather. Yeah, he is a character. And I would add, he worked a lot there were times where he was wealthy and there were times when he was poor. There was one point when he purchased a town in Idaho that had been used during the war to keep prisoners of war. But the town and he figured out a way to take the homes off their foundations and found a way to transport them to different parts of Idaho and Utah. And he sold them and did very well. He did this numerous times. That’s why one of the jobs that said he had was house mover. It literally meant that he would move houses and he made money doing that. And he figured out a way to do it very quickly and very efficiently. Of course, he lost a few houses along the way. He also has a few injuries from that endeavor, But he’s one of those people that decided there was an opportunity and he went for it. He recognized when he wasn’t good at something. He didn’t like teaching, so he’s quit teaching. He didn’t like farming, so he quit farming. Even though life after marriage was all in Idaho, he loved trading things. He would trade for coins, gold coins, all kinds of coins, right? He loved Jules. He traded jewels. He often owed someone for a risky investment he made and others owed him. What isn’t listed here on entrepreneurship is his constant buying and fixing up of motorhome. So when they came to visit us, wherever we lived in the United States, they would have a different mobile home. And in his older years, he didn’t fix mobile homes as much as he fixed golf carts. So people in Burley, Idaho, would see him driving my grandmother, the church in a golf cart, and I wrote in a golf cart behind them to the cemetery for him to show me where he and my grandmother would be buried before my grandmother died seven years ago. He was very enterprising in this way. He would buy and fix airplanes. This man loved adventure, loved fixing things, loved finding opportunities. And the reason partially that he was able to do this is because he had a very frugal and hardworking wife, a home that took care of the Children that taught them different things that helped them pursue their talents. That helped the Children press forward in life while their father figured out all the different ways to earn money and pursue the things that he felt were interesting. My grandfather loved adventure, but he also loved to fish, so he loved to go fishing. But he loved to tell stories. He loved to interact with people and help people in need. He built their home when they just had a few Children, and that home is still standing. And that home is still the place that we all gather whenever there’s a special event, whether it’s a birthday and anniversary, a funeral, a family re union, we know that that place on the hill and burley is a place we can go to interact. It’s the place where the firecrackers exploded outside of our tent on a summer morning, my grand parents went on different missions in their lives, all related to their church, the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints. In 1941 they went to the Eastern States, and we’re in that New York area that I talked about in 1981. They did one at home in Idaho, where they would do genealogical research and a program where they focused on Spanish names. In 1984 they went to New Zealand in 1987 they went to New Guinea in 1993 they went to Pennsylvania, and I remember my grandmother telling me the hardest mission to go on was Pennsylvania. They had amazing experiences in all places. I still remember them being in New Zealand because I received a beautiful turquoise shell ring as a gift from their mission and New Guinea and all the experiences they had their they would teach Children while they were on these missions. They would sing with different groups and build relationships with people because of their musical talents. And when they were there, they were fully there to serve and help others and built relationships that would last the rest of their lives. You may not know this, but my grandfather invented the snowmobile. He decided that he wanted to create something where he could go down the hill on skis but also have a nice place to sit E guess. And we have pictures of him in this first no mobile. And apparently someone saw him going around using this machine and asked if they could use this idea in that man shortly thereafter was selling something that he called a snowmobile. My grandfather went other places in the world besides those that I mentioned. He went on an expedition in Bailey’s and in the pictures. It looks like he’s like Indiana Jones in a little canoe with people native to that area going down the river. Who knows what he was doing. Sometimes he was looking for these drug infested planes that had been confiscated by the government. There was another time where he went with a tour group to Israel because he wanted to learn more about the Holy Land on my grandmother’s well, he went to Pakistan and interacted with princes and sheiks as he tried to secure some jewels. And that’s a whole interesting story. He had some problems with customs after that. Everything so didn’t quite get the full value of what he desired. He and my grandmother also went over to the Philippines to investigate what the’s faith healers were doing, and through that process they realized that these particular faith healers were doing a placebo effect and lying versus actual faith healing. And they exposed that after my grandmother died, my grandfather still wanted to travel, and he went with my aunt over to Australia when he was in his nineties, and he proceeded to get sick and he had to stay there a month. But he had visitors and friends and all kinds of people there. And, of course, things happened like they always do with my grandfather. Something worked out and a family member happened to be over there and was able to bring him back because my aunt had already returned home. My grand parents had nine Children and 45 direct grandchildren and over 100 great grandchildren. And that continues to grow. Of course, he has lived longer than two of his Children and his wife, and often many of us think about. Why is he still here? This is a man who loved adventure. He loved to travel the earth. He loved to try new things. He took major risks that sometimes hurt him and his family. But yet he’s still here, and many of us understand that if we’re still on this earth, that we still have a purpose, and his mind is fully alert. But he has a hard time talking, and he has a hard time hearing and he sits in a wheelchair and has to have help. So what is this man’s purpose? Well, there’s always so many purposes in our lives, right? We’re not just here for ourselves. We’re here for others. I’ve wondered a lot lately. What his purposes. Is he here to whisper to someone I love you that he hasn’t yet told. I love you too. Is he here because he has to still change something about himself? Or is he here so that someone at that care home can learn how to serve him? Is he here to still reflect on his life? I’m glad that I held off on recording this episode because I was going to record it a few days ago on his exact birthday, and I decided not to. I decided to spend quality time with some family members on that day, and I actually got to visit him. And this allowed me time to further reflect on what did I want to say in this episode about my grandfather? Because I am the oldest grandchild in that family. So I have heard years upon years of stories for my grandfather and grandmother. I have heard years of conversations between aunts and uncles and cousins, about all of our lives and especially my grandfather, on how he lived his life and what was right and what was wrong. And and I had a thought that maybe he still here for us so that we still go visit Burley, Idaho, Ah, little town in Idaho that most of you don’t know about. It’s in the southern part of the state. There’s not a lot there, but there’s a whole lot of people going through there. But when all your aunts and uncles move away and your grandma dies and there’s one person left, maybe it’s to see if we will still show up to see if we will honor our heritage to see if we will honor our parents with all of their imperfections, and that one of the parts of this thought that I had is maybe he’s still here so that we will come together and we will come together and work on processing all of our thoughts and feelings about our heritage and lives and decide that we want to get closer, that we want to help each other get better. That We want to have unity in times where the world is trying to pull people apart. In my family, there’s different politics. There is a little bit of religious diversity, but not much. But I will tell you that there’s this house on top of a hill that my grandfather made that serves as a spot that we know we enter when we want to interact. That serves as a spot for us to congregate. And in that spot there’s laughter and tears and judgments and turmoil and friendships and love that build over time. My grandfather was a faithful person in so many ways. He was faithful to God. He was faithful to his wife. He was faithful in helping others and serving in different positions. He was given where he had the authority to lead. He was a fun grandfather for many of us to interact with, even though he did not interact with us directly that much. He sometimes was aloof. He often didn’t say I love you to his Children or his grandchildren until recent years, when he suddenly decided to do so. Hiss family was sometimes very poor, but looked wealthy because of things he purchased when he had the money, but he did the best he could with who he, Waas and his Children are all amazing, and so are his grandchildren. When you walk into the house on the hill and Burley, you know that you are entering an arena where you will have to stand up for yourself, where you will have to answer questions that come out of the mouths of different aunts and uncles. You will have to defend yourself. You’ll have to defend someone else. You will hear stories about childhood memories, but it’s a beautiful experience, even if it’s hard for some of us sometimes because at least people have decided that no matter how painful it is to gather, they’re going to gather in that place and they’re going to talk about it and they’re going to cry and they’re gonna worry. And they’re gonna process Thean motion, and to this day they are still processing it as they should be, as we should be, because if you’re still on this earth, you are not done. You are not done offering up your work. You still have a purpose, and so many people have wonderful things to say about my grandfather, and so do I. And others have negative things, not realizing how much they are, who they are because they learn from him. They learned the good and the things that they think are bad, and they use that learning to change how they live. They may be a better person because they experienced some of the turmoil that comes from someone who is full of adventure and willing to do all these things in life, but aren’t quite sure how to handle the day to day responsibilities. My grandfather created a home that is still being used to bring all the generations of his posterity together. That home that my grandfather and grandmother built is still there, and my aunt bought it. So it’s still in the family for us to go through this process of learning and growing from each other and being willing to share raw emotions and stories from our past and try to figure out with each other what it all means. If some of you were to sit there and hear the stories, you would think this is nothing compared to my family, but you’d also probably say, Wow, my family has never had the most amazing, crazy miracles that this family has gone through. You can’t have the good without the bad. We all know this. If we play a video game, the best levels of the game come from the hardest obstacles to overcome. And yet we don’t realize this in everyday life. At times, I’m so grateful for all the good my grandfather brought to his life and work. I’m so grateful for the things he struggled with because it’s taught us all something about ourselves, and we get to each choose what that means for us. And I’m grateful he created that space in a little town in Idaho, still sitting there on the hill for us to come up that gravelly driveway and wonder who is at the Clark house today. And what will I be asked, and what will I be exposed? Thio. And what stories will I hear? I looked over it, two nieces working on their art and their homework while they sat there, and I remember being a teenager, sitting and listening to all those stories and all the joys and the heartaches that my aunts and uncles and grand parents were sharing. It appeared like I wasn’t listening, but I Waas and I took those lessons into my life, and I’m still doing that. I did that this weekend. I love all of my aunts and uncles. They all have strengths and weaknesses. So do I. But we all can keep trying. We all can keep striving. And we’re so lucky that we have such characters in our heritage that we can learn from and that we get to share stories about because there’s lots of crazy fun stories. Yeah, that are all part of me that have come with me in my jeans. And I get to choose what to dio on my adventure Going forward, honor your heritage, the good, the bad and the ugly from it. And if you can create a physical space where you all know you can go to process it to talk through it and learn to love it, all parts of it because you’re still growing and learning to the end. On that same day as my grandfather’s 1/100 birthday, Hiss sister in law’s funeral was taking place in the same town. She was 102 years old and 10 months. This is my grandmother’s sister and everyone who spoke practically. And everyone who did a musical number for that funeral was in their seventies or eighties, and they were still offering up their best work to the world. And they were still learning and growing. My grandfather, Clark, learned how to use a cell phone after my grandmother died. So he was in his nineties and suddenly found a reason to use a cell phone. I want to say something. I don’t know if you heard it in the background, but as I was trying to finish up this podcast right now, a little airplane flew over head. That never happens where I’m located. My grandfather loved airplanes from when he was a little boy and heard of Charles Lindbergh flying his airplane. That little airplane flying ahead just now was a nod to Grandpa. Yeah, How fun is that? I love you, Grandpa Clark, and I’m going to keep offering up my best work. I hope all of you listening due to talk to you soon. If it is time for you to improve your work relationships, get the raise or move into a new career. I have two programs for you. The first is Make the Move, a self paced online course that leads you through the mindset, management principles and planning approaches that help you up level your work. The second is one on one coaching for those who are serious about transforming their work, now, find both at learn dot Move your desk dot com mhm.

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