Alberta woman becomes great-great-great-grandmother
'I just couldn't wait for this baby to be born, because it was going to be my 6th generation'
Originally published December 2.
They say that watching your kids bring the next generation into the world is one of the joys of growing old.
So imagine hanging around long enough to meet your great-great-great-grandchild.
That's what happened recently to Vera Sommerfeld of Lethbridge, Alta.
The 96-year-old became the proud head of six living generations of women, all in one unbroken line.
Baby Callie Marsh — born in October — is the latest addition.
Her mother, Alisa Marsh, is 20. Grandmother Amanda Cormier is just 39, and Grace Couturier became a great-grandmother at 59.
Great-great-grandmother Gwen Shaw is 75.
"It's pretty wonderful, really," says matriarch Vera Sommerfeld.
"I just couldn't wait for this baby to be born, because it was going to be my sixth generation, and I waited for it for a long time."
And from the first time she held baby Callie, she was smitten.
"I couldn't even describe it. She's just such a beautiful girl. I love her so much."
The women all live in the southern Alberta city and get together roughly once a month.
On a Saturday afternoon, they are flipping through photo albums and talking about who looks like who.
The baby is passed from one set of arms to another while the women catch up.
They say there are things they have in common: blue eyes, an independent nature, and a stubborn streak.
"I would say we're all very headstrong, or pig-headed," great-grandmother Grace Couturier explains with a laugh.
And there is another thing that makes the family unique.
Five of the six were the first born in their families.
Great-great-grandma Gwen Shaw says it's a combination of good fortune and hard work.
"I think we're just very lucky, that we've had good genes, and that we take care of ourselves," she says.
But nonagenarian Sommerfeld has her own secret to long life.
Alcohol, she says. To be more precise: Rum and soda.
As for whether she'll make it to see the seventh generation, she laughs.
"You've got to be kidding!"
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