A home health nurse contacted the radio station a few years ago and asked if Maynard and I would make a visit to a 105 year old lady who was still living on a farm near Milan. She said this lady sits at her kitchen table and listens to KLQP radio all day. She told the nurse that she listens to Paul and Maynard on the radio all the time and didn’t know what we looked like. She then asked if it would be possible to meet us. Little did I know that meeting this 105 year old wonderful women would have such an impact on me. When I heard Tuesday, that Lila passed away at 107 years old, my heart was saddened.
I’d never heard of Lila Strand before the home health nurse contacted us. My first reaction when hearing about her was that there was a lady who was 105 years old still living in her home on a farm! Who does that? It was an easy decision for us to make. A few days later Maynard and I drove the twenty miles to her farm, which to my surprise was located just past the Milan bridge as you cross Lac qui Parle Lake. I have driven this highway many times over the years and never knew who lived on that farm site. We met the home health nurse outside her home. It was a quaint small two story home. Some chickens and cats were running around the yard. I was about to meet a 105 year old person. I don’t know why, but I was kind of nervous about that.
As I walked in the front entry way I could see Lila sitting at the kitchen table with her radio next to her and a stack of newspapers and magazines on the table. She was wearing a red sweater and her white hair was combed nicely. She sure didn’t look 105 years old to me. The health nurse introduced us and I gave her a hug and thanked her for listening to Q92. Lila said she was surprised by what we looked like, she thought I sounded much younger on the radio! I think that was a compliment. She told me, that she listens to all the high school games I broadcast. She loves listening to the basketball games the most. She was excited when I gave her my sports card!
For some reason, I thought a 105 year old person wouldn’t be very alert or able to carry on a good conversation. Was I wrong about that. Lila talked our ear off. She told Maynard about all the current events happening around the world. Lila said she knew what was happening by listening to KLQP everyday! She also read newspapers and magazines. The more she talked and laughed with us the more I liked her. It was such a pleasant visit, I didn’t want it to end. I asked Lila if it would be alright to interview her. She was reluctant at first, but I told her we would make her a radio star, plus I’ve never interviewed a 105 year old person.
The interview went very well. I listened to it again while writing this blog. It brought a tear to my eye, listening to her talk about her life. What a life she lived. She was born in 1912, that is the year the Titanic sank! Woodrow Wilson was President, New Mexico and Arizona became states, the Girl Scouts were founded! She talked about growing up on a farm, her mother died at a young age so Lila raised her siblings as a teenager. She remembered electricity coming to the area and that was such a big deal at the time.
Our visit was two hours at the most, but Lila made such an impact on me. I was amazed at her well being, her wit, her smile, her knowledge and her outlook on life at 105 years old. I know her family, friends and neighbors took good care of her. This past year she moved into the Appleton Care Center. Its funny how I met her for a short time but every once in while I found myself thinking about her and the visit we had. Amazing someone can live to be 107 years old. I came across the pictures we took and it puts a smile on my face. Lila died Tuesday at 107 years old! Rest in Peace Lila!
You can listen to our interview on podcast at http://www.klqpfm.com