ROSEVILLE, Minn. – When the national anthem plays for Sunday’s Super Bowl, a pair of 88-year-old grandmothers from California will be on their feet.
Shirley Shanahan and Karen Winger have been planning their Minneapolis trip for three years.
“Something we’ve always wanted to do is go to Super Bowl,” says Winger. “I still can’t believe it, but we’re going.”
Though both women live in Southern California, they are Minnesota natives who first met as roommates in the late 1940s at St. Cloud State University.
Shanahan says she and Winger started planning for the Super Bowl after reading an article about Minnesota’s new stadium, at the time, still under construction.
“So, I said to Karen, ‘Let's start saving our money in a little white envelope, a hundred dollars a month, for three years,’ I said, 'If we're alive by 2018, we'll have enough money for that ticket.'"
On Thursday, Shanahan and Winger had lunch with three additional college roommates from St. Cloud State, a group of that’s maintained a round robin letter for nearly 70 years.
Shanahan and Winger - both retired elementary school teachers - lost their husbands three months apart in 2011.
“At that time afterwards, we really started to get, really, a lot closer,” says Winger. “Every day we call each other,” she continued. “We get on the phone and all we do is giggle.”
The friends agreed the most important thing they did following the loss of their spouses, was to keep going.
They’ve already taken a cruise. The Super Bowl is just their latest adventure.
“This is just the most exciting time of my life,” says Shanahan. “Right now, today.”