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Grandma’s High-Flying Birthday

For her 90th birthday, Vada Rambo gave herself the present of jumping out of an airplane. The 86-pound great-great-grandmother is legally blind, uses a wheelchair, and is hard of hearing, but was determined to skydive before she dies. “I’ll never get another chance,” she says. “I’ve got to do something different in my life.” She jumped in tandem with instructor Keri Bell at Sanderson Field, enjoying a 60-second free-fall before her parachute opened. Her daughter, grandson, and great-granddaughter sky-dived along with her, as did three family friends. Rambo, dubbed “Grambo” by her family members, has always had an adventurous spirit, and has never let her blindness--acquired when she was 17 years old from a degenerative condition--slow her down. She makes crazy quilts, regularly rearranges the furniture, and climbs the ladder to the roof of her house. She told her instructor that she did not want any special treatment when skydiving--she wanted the standard fall with spins and turns. She said the dive was a great feeling, and she plans to do it again when she turns 100.

September 16, 2009

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