Thursday, September 02, 2004

How to Remember

My Mom had us all over for supper tonight to remember my grandma, who died a week and a half ago. There was no funeral. Grandma was buried with my grandpa in Ohio, and it just didn't make sense for us all to fly there and have a funeral. The supper at Mom and Dad's was just right. My sister flew in from out of town and my brother tried, but couldn't get anyone to cover his small town family medical practice so he couldn't come, but he's been in touch with Mom by phone, so that's okay. There were 7 of us: Mom, Dad, my sister, husband, 2 kids and me. After supper, Mom read some of the memoirs that Grandma wrote when she was about 83 years old, in a memoir-writing course in the seniors home where she lived. What a life she led, and so many changes. She was born on a farm in Ohio in 1903, where her father grew corn and wheat and hay. Anywhere they couldn't walk they took a horse and carriage. Grandma went to college and taught school for a while, then worked in a library. Then she married my grandpa and became a middle class wife. He was an insurance company executive. They lived in Michigan, Ohio and Massachusetts and raised my mom. In her lifetime my grandma saw so many changes in the way people lived and saw themselves and the world. The changes during our lifetimes seem so small in comparison. So we can remember when there were no VCRs of personal what? It's nothing compared to going from kerosene lamps, water pumps and "father knows best" to life in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s and on to today. I see my grandma in a new light when I think of her that way. I'm glad our family celebrated her life this evening by drawing a collective memory picture of her, and I'm glad my children were part of it. Our lives are blessed, in no small part, because of the stories lived and created and shared by all of us together.

Question for today: Who is the oldest person whose stories you know? Do those stories affect your understanding of your place in the world?

mompoet - happy and connected

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