The Daily Beast
February 7th 2012
By, Meghan McCain
Today is my grandmother Roberta McCain’s 100th birthday.
If you don’t know about my grandmother, let me give you a little rundown. When people tell me that I must get my maverick gene from my father, they are only half right. My father and I both have inherited our rebellious personalities from Nana. She has always lived her life on her own terms, something that was once considered quite scandalous, given the times she grew up in.
My grandmother is a twin (her sister Rowena lived to be 99) and was born in Oklahoma on Feb. 7, 1912. In 1933 she eloped with my grandfather, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., at Caesars, a bar in Tijuana, Mexico, becoming daughter-in-law to my great-grandfather, also a Navy admiral. She was no average housewife, always outspoken and giving opinions to my grandfather, who was, more often than not, away from her on duty.
She was known for dressing glamorously and holding fabulous dinner parties on Navy bases, and also for not having a lot of patience for excuses, especially from my father when he was growing up and acting out. When I was a little girl and we would visit my grandmother whenever we were in D.C., she would always greet us at the door in elegant suits or gowns with matching pearls and earrings. Her house is decorated with treasures of the 1930s and ’40s, from Oriental rugs to oil paintings, sculptures of Navy ships, trinkets from her world travels, and many, many pictures from her long and colorful life. During our visit she would serve tea in old china and tell us stories about my father when he was little. She once hit him over the head with a thermos in the back of a car because he was acting up so badly on a road trip.