Evelyn Josephine Gnann | Teen Ink

Evelyn Josephine Gnann

September 11, 2008
By Anonymous

Hero is such a generic term. It is greatly overused and just handed out for description about anyone. But, in fact, I only know a few people who actually deserve the honor of being heroic, or someone others should look up to. One of these people is my great grandmother, Genny, or Evelyn Josephine Gnann, or Missy. Whatever you call her, you still get the same, caring person. She takes care of people, is a strong person and a role model, gives great advice, and is everything I hope to be by the time I am her age.

My Genny was born in 1917. Her family was poor and lived on a farm in Florida and she grew up during the depression. Even with that said she still had a great time. She told me that she would play and sing. And then when summer rolled around like a blazing sun, there was a creek where she would go swimming and she would boil peanuts. And at her school, there were a lot of people who she would spend time with. She told me that she accepted the lord when she was 13 years old and then she joined a church when she was 15 years old. She has tried to serve the lord throughout her life. She told me, “There’s nothing quite as satisfying as being with the lord.” Oh, and she is 91 years of age.

Genny is an extremely caring person. When I asked her what her biggest accomplishment was, she told me that it had to be taking care of people. She said that she has been taking care of people since she was a little girl. She told me that when she was little people would come to her family, and she would help take care of them. She has taken care of people who are sick. She took care of her husband who was sick and died of lung cancer. She has cared for so many people including people who are blind. I remember when I was at her 90th birthday party and she was looking at old pictures, she told me about how she would go and see this woman who was blind, she would help her out with doing chores and work the women could not carry out by herself. She has also taken care of her brothers and sisters, mother, and children. Along with taking care of people she is also a strong person and a great role model.

Genny is a great role model and a strong person. When I asked her what the greatest obstacle she had to overcome was the first words she said were, “Well, it’s not smoking. And not drinking because I’ve never done either before in my life.” I think that is remarkable. She also goes to church as much as she can; she has kept her faith for her whole life. She also told me that she loves learning. She learned to read and never stopped, it is safe to say she loves it. She also learned to cook with her mother during the depression; consequently, she is a great cook. She is also a strong person. She told me about the love of her life, her husband. His name was William Bruckner Coleman, but she called him Brooke. He was five years older than her. She said when he died it was the most heartbreaking instant in her life. It must have been so hard for her to keep going, but she did. A few weeks before he died her mother died and she said that was not as hard because her mother was old and was ready to go. If Brooke would have lived for two more months they would have been married for 50 years.

While I was talking to Genny, I asked her if she had any advice for me. She told me to never smoke and never drink. She said that I would get more out of life than the people who smoke and drink. She also said to study and to read. She told me that she has done all of that and, in addition, she ate healthy. Her last piece of advice was for me to save myself. I think I am going to take all of her advice; it has worked for her pretty well.

When I am 91 years old I hope that I am at least half the person Genny is. Everyone I have ever talked to has great respect for her and loves her. I asked her if she would make anything different in her life if she had the chance and she said that she probably would not. She told me that the lord blessed her and that she has had a wonderful life. She said that she might have liked to go out and see all the beauty in the world but that she did not have to because she has seen a lot of beauty in her time. I wish that I end up having no regrets like her and that my life feels fulfilled when I get to where she is.

Odysseus is not too similar to my great grandmother in some ways, but they are similar in other ways. He tends to be a little bit selfish because he wants adventure or because he wants honor. Genny is one of the most selfless people I know, but they are similar in other ways. People are drawn to Odysseus and like they like him a great deal. It is the same with Genny, everyone loves her. Also, Odysseus is an exceptional story teller and I think Genny is too. I love hearing about all of the stories she has, I think it is so interesting. So there are some similarities between them.

Genny is a great person and my personal hero. She is kind and caring, and she is definitely well loved. She takes care of other people, is a strong person and a role model, gives great advice, and is what I hope to be when I get older. The last words she told me were, “I’ve had a good life, honey. The lord has blessed me.” I think the lord has blessed everyone around her for putting her in their lives. Genny is the most amazing person I know. I hope that when I am 91 years old someone can say the same about me that so many people tend to say about her.

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