Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My grandmother's 99th birthday

1998 -
Rockford, IL

I was there for a number of these late birthdays, but since the picture has my mother's writing on it, maybe she just sent the picture.  I did crop out a snippet of my sister of the right.  So maybe my father took the picture.  When I would be there, often he wouldn't go unless my mother guilt tripped him into it.  This is his mother but he really did not like going to the retirement facility.  Because it just reminded him of his own age.  And, as far as he was concerned, none of this aging and dying thing would happen to him.  He would have none of it.

My mother always did make a party for her.  The fancy cups and napkins, the wrapped gift.  My grandmother, as usual, dressed rather formally.  And looks pretty happy with what's going on but, if she had her wits about her, she probably would say something unkind to my mother, her devoted daughter in law.

It was at these little parties, that I learned how important it could be to send a card to remember somebody.

But the downside of photos, the farther back in time you go, the better everybody looks so, if you don't watch out, you fear the future rather than embrace it.

My grandmother died in 2001 at age 103, my father in 2006 and my mother in 2010.

I want to write about my paternal grandparents.  Officially they came from that later immigration from eastern Europe.  Technically, they are both children of immigrants.  But my paternal great grandfather came from East Prussia as a child and my paternal great grandparents came early, in 1890 from the Pale of Settlement (Ukraine specifically).  But you could not see any of that immigrant influence in my grandparents.  They lived in Boston, my grandfather attended Harvard and was an insurance executive.  They always dressed formally and only participated in high cultural activities (classical music, etc).

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