Tuesday 17 April 2018

Grandparents are supposed to be…

So…grandparents are supposed to be those patient, smiling, gray-haired people who run a farm, with horses that work for them or that you ride with in a carriage or wagon pulled by old Dobbin (there really was a Dobbin on the farm of my grandparents).

Grandparents are not supposed to be the ones who spend part of a Saturday at the local A&W, having lunch delivered by a girl on roller skates (apparently some places are bringing this service back); or working at a Dairy Queen making those cute little curly cues on top of a soft ice cream cone, then dipping them in chocolate (mmmm!).

Grandmothers bake cookies or make fried chicken dinners, after they “harvest” the chickens out in the back yard, of course, and bring in the fresh vegetables from the big garden by the creek.

Not ones who kids ride with on an ATV down a muddy lane.

In the evenings grandparents sit reading, knitting and listening to the radio.

They don’t exchange pictures and comments live on Skype or WeChat. And they don’t own iPhones and tablets!

They shop at the town general store and sometimes in the city at a department store. Or they might use the Eaton’s catalogue (Sears Roebuck in the USA) that is delivered to their mail box.

They don’t do Amazon!

It’s different now. We modern grandparents, of course, do all the stuff that our grandparents never dreamed of – much of it our parents never were exposed to, either. We are able to see our grandchildren in real time, no matter where they are. We can talk to and see them on their birthdays or when they participate in performances on the other side of the world, via a direct link through the Internet. (I posted about this subject last August: Family History in the making…and seen Live!). Or we can fly to visit with them in person in a matter of hours.

I was fortunate growing up in being able to know and visit with my grandparents. My wife’s parents immigrated to Canada on their own, so she never met her grandparents. In any case, they had all died in Scotland long before she was born. In these respects, we are a lot like my parents.

My father grew up knowing his maternal grandparents and paternal grandfather who lived in the same rural community of Keoma, Alberta. They were all part of a close-knit family. My mother never met her grandparents. Most of them had died before she was born. She was only eight years old and living in Oregon when her paternal grandfather died and I never heard any stories of her visiting him with her parents in Oklahoma.

We try to be a big part of our grandchildren’s lives because we want to be, we can be and we want them to know about us. We also try to share stories of their ancestors, from all branches, so that they will have some knowledge of where and who they came from.

Family history is a continual process with stories being added every day. In the future I hope our grandchildren will pass along their reminiscences about their grandparents to their grandchildren. We’ll be history by then!