Gertrud "Geri" Clauson doesn't consider herself a radical, but when her neighbors at the Riddle Village retirement community in Media read this, they might. After all, how many people alter their political identity at age 94?

Born in 1913 - before women had the right to vote - Geri was a loyal registered Republican for 73 years.

Now she's a Democrat who wants to elect a woman president.

"It isn't that I don't want to be a Republican anymore," the blond-haired, mauve-nailed nonagenarian told me last week. "I want to vote the way I want to vote this time."

This time - as in the first, and possibly, last time?

Geri doesn't say if thoughts of mortality pushed her to change political parties. When you're pushing 95, you live for the moment.

And to this tuned-in voter, who needs headphones she calls "my TV ears" to follow politics on MSNBC and Fox News, the moment belongs to Hillary Clinton.

Living history

Sharyn Clauson cautioned that between her mother's hearing loss and health problems, she may not be the world's best interview.

"You wouldn't know it now, but I used to be able to talk very well," Geri says after I arrive in her ornately decorated apartment.

"It's so hard for me to remember things," she admits. "I remember, then I forget what I want to say."

Eventually, bits of her electoral history surface, from casting her first vote in 1934 during the Depression to marrying a staunch conservative who forbade their only daughter from attending a John F. Kennedy rally near their home in Oxford Circle.

At Temple, Geri majored in English with a focus on 19th-century novels like her favorite, Pride and Prejudice. After she became a "traditional" wife and homemaker, the extent of her public politicking was working on "social change" with B'nai B'rith and once, decades ago, hosting a kaffeeklatsch for Arlen Specter.

As for crossing party lines, the only time Geri recalls doing it before was to vote for Ed Rendell for mayor and governor.

While this year's presidential campaign has energized the young, it also has thoroughly infatuated a woman so old she has never revealed her age to neighbors because "I don't want people trying to figure out how many years I have left."

Geri was so swept up, she joined 86,710 other registered Pennsylvania voters who have switched their party affiliation to Democrat this year.

"What I realized," Geri told Sharyn after asking for help with the paperwork, "was that I always could vote, but my mother couldn't. When I had a little girl, I could take you into the booth. When my mother had me, she couldn't."

Sharyn was surprised by her mother's political coming of age at such an advanced age.

"My mother," Sharyn now suspects, "was a closet feminist."

One woman, one vote

The more Sharyn probed, the more it became clear that her mother is channelling a lifetime of slights and hope into one vote.

"Now there's a glass ceiling," explains Sharyn, a 61-year-old retired teacher. "Before, there were glass doors."

In a few weeks, Geri - a fiscal conservative who thinks Clinton, more than Republican John McCain, can restore a centrist stability to a nation adrift - will try to shatter what's left of those barriers.

Used to be, Geri had to ride a bus to vote at a firehouse. This year, her polling place is at Riddle Village.

On primary day April 22, she'll climb into her lipstick-red Jazzy Select power wheelchair, motor down the hall, and ride the elevator to the first floor to make her mark on history.

Sharyn will be out of town, not that Geri needs help.

"I don't," she insists.

And if any of her mostly Republican neighbors ask whether she's voting for Clinton just because she's a woman, Geri has a snappy response all ready:

"Why not?"

Contact Monica Yant Kinney at myant@phillynews.com or 215-854-4670. Read her recent work at http://go.philly.com/yantkinney.