I first came to know Johanna Knudsen Miller when I was 16 and she was 98. We became acquainted at the First Presbyterian Church in Westhope, North Dakota. She lived alone and unassisted until she was almost 100 years old, then due to balance issues, she told her daughter Margaret she was ready to move to the Home.
There I continued to visit her, listening to stories of how she remembered playing on the shores of the North Sea before immigrating to America in 1891. Once I took a small cassette recorder with me to record her stories. Occasionally she’d notice the little gray contraption and ask sweetly, “Are you going to take my picture?”
“No, Grandma,” I’d explain, encouraging her to talk and the machine would record her voice.
She’d resume her story, then momentarily would notice the recorder again.
“Are you going to take my picture?”
This scenario would repeat itself maybe 3 times.
When I met Dave, I introduced him to Grandma Miller, as I called her, although we weren’t related. Even though she’d only met him once, she never forgot I had a boyfriend. Whenever I’d visit her, she’d ask, “And how is your young man?”
Johanna was born April 19, 1883, and lived to be 104. She’s still the oldest person I’ve known.