Martha Rebecca Johnston, my grandmother, was born April 23, 1905. She died nine years ago, on May 6, 1998. This post originally included an anecdote about her dream of heaven, which she wasn’t too crazy about, and her funeral, and now you can read it at the end of “My Son Went to Heaven, and All I Got Was a No. 1 Best Seller,” my piece for the New York Times Magazine about Heaven Is For Real.
In the photo above, Martha is in her mid-forties. Below: her baby photo; young Martha saluting with a double-barrel shotgun at her shoulder (thanks for the gun tutorial, Will); Martha in what looks like a flapper-era suit and tie; Martha looking pensive in a dress; Martha standing with her toddler daughter (my mom); and Martha smiling in her older age.