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If I Live to See 97…

“Summer, can you brang me my earrings?”

For two weeks I had the privilege of having my grandmother stay with me. She hadn’t made the ride to Memphis to stay with me in nearly four years, but this time on my visit to see her she finally said yes when I asked her to come back with me.  And she agreed. But first she needed her earrings.

We loaded up my truck with everything we needed including her airplane quilt that she was determined to finish before her 97th birthday on March 10th. She explained that she had stopped working on it when my granddaddy got sick over thirty years ago, and she really wanted to finish it.

97 years old

So she worked on that quilt- in the morning, at night, through the day, watching game shows.

And with my granddaughter. Her only great great granddaughter.

Since my son had moved, I spent more time working than cooking. However, with my grandmother with me, it was an honor to cook her everything she wanted- baked chicken, meatloaf, pot roast, spaghetti, greens, cabbage, black eyed peas, cornbread and so much more.

I cooked, she worked on her quilt, and we talked with me barely leaving her side.


While she was with me, my mother spent a night with us. And Kailey took good care of her GG when she was with us including this sweet video of her combing her hair.

97 years old








My cousin came over and shampooed and styled her beautiful hair.

My favorite massage therapist treated her to a massage, and I received the gift of seeing her so happy and relaxed.97 years old






Unfortunately, she discovered a problem that she said would require her to undo several blocks.

So she didn’t finish by her birthday. But she celebrated. We celebrated her life. 97 beautiful years.


97 years old




97 years old

She is truly special and loved. Our huge family attended the party like every year and so did Pastor Gregory Hammond who baptized me and helped me through my pregnancy (it’s in my memoir).

And her birthday was newsworthy. I got the local news to cover her story and highlight her book, our book- Look Who Done Come Up the Slip.






So if I’m blessed to live 97 years, here are a few things I want to do and be just like my grandmother:

  • Healthy- she takes no medication and has no dietary restrictions
  • Funny- she finds humor in everything, and we spend most of our time together laughing
  • Wise- she remembers everything and applies it to her life
  • Beautiful- both inside and out

This year I’ll turn 40. Wherever the next 57+ years take me, I’m ready to go.

97 years old



But first. Let me get my earrings.


I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges.  provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.

Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker?  I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.