22 October, 2020

Amazing Grace

She recalls Edwardian London and the Blitz. Kodaikanal-based Grace Wardell, Fleet Street's first woman editor, has turned 100.

Amazing Grace

There was a dear lady called Grace
Who stared life straight in the face
She has made it to a hundred
Without priest or pundit
This dear old lady called Grace
—Birthday tribute to Grace Wardell

"I've never stopped experimenting with life," declares Grace Wardell who, having won fame and acclaim as the first woman editor on Fleet Street, came to Kodaikanal 37 years ago to live with her son Mark Antrobus. A few weeks back, soon after her 100th birthday, Grace zestfully embraced a new adventure. Behind her son's back, she clambered onto the pillion of a friend's motorbike, hung on while he negotiated the precarious mud path downhill from her house, zipped into town and came back, all aglow after the exertion.

Mark, who became a monk and settled down in India, tries not to be overprotective of his mother, but is mindful that after eight surgeries, including a knee replacement in a Madurai hospital two years ago—and a cataract operation scheduled in July—Grace is...


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