The Other Mighty Mac

A well known Michigan landmark is our Mackinac Bridge, or the Mighty Mac, connecting the upper and lower peninsula. We lost another “Mighty Mac” this week. Chad’s grandmother, Maxine “Mac” Springer led an amazing life over her 101 years! Thought I’d share some stories and fun facts about this amazing lady…

• Maxine Leone Bennett was born a few weeks before The Red Baron was finally shot down in France.

• During the Great Depression, Mac and her fellow co-workers unanimously agreed to a pay cut, so everyone could keep working.

• Mac loved adventures! She pursued her pilot’s license, where she met and later married her flight instructor, Don.

• Together, they later managed the Hastings Airport where one of Grandma’s responsibilities was to shoot groundhogs tearing up the runway.

• Grandma and Grandpa hosted an exchange student from Finland in 1965-66, forming a lifelong friendship through correspondence. Chad’s mom spent a summer with Pirjo and her family in 1968, Grandma and Grandpa visited in 1975, and Chad’s parents visited again a few years ago.

• Chad only remembers Grandma swearing once. The family was in Florida visiting over spring break and getting ready to head out to the beach. Grandma was in the kitchen, slowly making sandwiches for a picnic, still in her housecoat. Grandpa, always a bit of a curmudgeon, walked in the kitchen, looked at her handiwork, and said, “That looks like $hit!” Not missing a beat, Grandma snapped back, “Well, it’s going to be some good $hit!”

• Grandma didn’t let anything go to waste. Expiration dates were more of a rough guideline. Once when Chad was cooking in their kitchen, he found a series of spices in the back of the cupboard, which had expired in the 50s.

• Our daughter spent the last few years as one of Grandma and Grandpa’s caregivers. She enjoyed watching Grandma play games with other caregivers. Mac loved sweets! She perfected the technique of asking for something from the other room while subtly hiding chocolate to enjoy later.

• I always wondered if Grandma’s DNA included royal blood. Mac carried herself like a queen. Even her calm, dignified walk reminded me of royalty. Her grace through life’s ups and downs serves as a reminder of how we could all be stronger people.

As we head into the holiday season, I find myself thinking of those who have gone before us. Recalling and recording little stories like the one’s written above offer a healing and healthy process to remember the good times and preserve family history.

Here’s to Mac and a life well lived! Slainte!

Thanks for reading!



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