Birdie McGinnis has a reason to smile this morning.
Actually she has 100 reasons.
Because that’s the number of candles that her family will have for her on the birthday cake that they’ll be bringing down to The Waffle Shop to pay tribute to a woman they all love and respect.
Well, maybe not 100 candles. Maybe three of them spelling 100 or something like that.
Born Alberta to her parents in Grantsburg, Wisconsin on April 1, 1914, Birdie eventually met Charles McGinnis and they settled in Minnesota where they opened a TV repair business and had three little girls – Ella, Patti and Jean.
Eventually the family moved west to Castro Valley, and to hear Jacqueline Capron – Birdie’s granddaughter – tell the story, built the quintessential home for her children and the grandkids that would soon be buzzing around.
Capron said that even though she was adopted at birth, she felt a deep connection with her grandmother almost immediately – something, she said, that she can’t really explain to somebody who has never felt it.
“I felt like it was something of soul and of spirit instead of just a blood connection,” she said. “I have so much respect and for her as a woman – there was never a crossed word that came from her mouth and she was the embodiment of honesty and integrity.
“But she also had that look – that disapproving glance. You didn’t want to get that look because you wanted her acceptance. She’s an amazing lady and she has a lot of people in her family that are centurions – she’s had siblings that have lived to 100. It’s an amazing feat.”
A painter in her spare time, McGinnis loves using oils to paint nature scenes and has many framed works from her years in front of the easel – the frames themselves handmade by “Chuck” to accentuate the beauty contained within.
She also harbored a passion for riding Indian and Harley Davidson motorcycles – something that Capron said she didn’t know anything about until three years ago when she uncovered an old photograph.
“I remember asking her if she rode motorcycles, and she told me, ‘Well of course,” Capron remembers. “It was like I was supposed to know that already.”
McGinnis’ three daughters and their grandchildren – Capron, Suzanne, Amy Jo, Elizabeth and Bill – are expected to be on hand to help usher in the special holiday.