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My grandmother turned one hundred yesterday, so we drove over for a flying visit, to an open house that my father and uncle (my grandmother's two children) were hosting for her (really, though, it was my mom and probably my aunt who did most of the organizing... but I don't know for sure. I know the cookie were my mom's, though). It was a two hour drive, and we only stayed half an hour, because we had obligations back at home again that we had to rush back to.

My grandmother was one of nine children, so there were all sorts of cousins there. First cousins once removed, first cousins twice removed, second cousins, etc. There was my handsome and so friendly ex-fisherman cousin, and my traveling-to-Nicaragua-and-Cuba cousin, and the cousin whose former apartment I remember because of its many steps... and also I remember her from when we were both kids and taken to Brighams one time. Also there was a neighbor, the father of girls my sister and I used to play with when we visited my grandmother when we were kids. His daughters have gone on to do great things! What I remember about their house, back in the 70s, was that it was the first place I ever saw a modem.

It was an old-style phone handset, you know, with a spiral cord, and you put it into a little cradle after you had dialed the number. Our friends were talking on the Internet back before we even knew what the Internet was. Back when screens were black and the words you typed appeared all green, and in that funny computer-writing style. It was because their dad was a scientist.

My grandmother's memory is not what it might be; she lives in a world in which the past and the present sort of coexist. This distresses other people quite a bit and me not at all, so really I should visit more often, since I can come away from the experience unbothered. I don't mind if she can't quite recognize me at first or (more likely) she can't quite express the relationship she knows we have. She fumbles for it and can't quite recall it. And for all times to converge--well, that's kind of pleasant. Her son is a small boy, a grown man, an older man with grown children, all at once. But I know it's distressing for her sometimetimes, when she gets caught out; when she has to realize yet again that her husband is long dead, or this or that sibling is dead. That's sad; I do feel sad for her then.

I wish the "nostalgic" emoticon down below didn't have question marks. You can be nostalgic without feeling particularly questioning!


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 30th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
This is a beautiful and thoughtful and tender post.
If only she was a member of the commonwealth - she would get a letter from the Queen!
Apr. 30th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
Yes... I wish she were and could! I suffered under the misapprehension that she might get a letter from the president (I think I imagined this based purely on my husband's telling me that people in the UK got a letter from the queen), but alas, it's not the case (and anyway, who wants a letter from the current president!?!)
Apr. 30th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
You could always try and get a letter from the one you elected...
Apr. 30th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
You mean Al Gore? Could do... I think my parents plan on trying to get a letter from one of her (and my) state senators, though. That would be either Ted Kennedy or John Kerry!
May. 1st, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)
I just digging!

I am sure that a card and a smile and a kiss from you is all she needs : )
Apr. 30th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
Many years to your grandma! How wonderful!
Apr. 30th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
That's extraordinary. How bless are you to have your grandma!!!

Oh, and this line jumped right out at me:

She lives in a world in which the past and the present sort of coexist.

Yup, I can see how that would distress people.

But...should it really? Don't the past and present coexist naturally? I'm thinking Grandma has it right. :)
Apr. 30th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
Just to clarify, I meant...

Blessed, blessed, blessed!
May. 1st, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)
Re: Just to clarify, I meant...
Thanks so much for your thoughts! :-)

I didn't even notice the typo--which is bad, for an editor, but I never notice on lj! :-0
May. 1st, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
Re: Just to clarify, I meant...
Well that's a great relief actually! I'm the worst when it comes to typo's. Partly because I'm always in a rush (poor time management skills) and the only way I can get my lj time in is to do it quickly.

Well, there's that and then being dumb as rocks don't help much. ;)
Apr. 30th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)
Congrats to your Grandmom. Sto Lat! I'm pretty sure when my Grandad turned 80 he got a letter from the president. This was 15 years or so ago. But maybe some one needs to write to the President and tell them your Grandmom's age and then a form letter or whatever is sent out.
Apr. 30th, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC)
the web page I found The White House Greetings Office has info on it...check it out...there's some restrictions
May. 1st, 2006 12:43 am (UTC)
Well, so now I'm sort of kicking myself, because if I had only written six weeks ago, she could have gotten a letter. Oh well, I don't like Bush, so this turn of events protects me from having to ask someone I don't like to do something for me.

Thanks for letting me know, though--I had thought (how's this for a (potential) use of taxpayer dollars!) thought somehow that they kept track of these things at their end and sent out the letters automatically!
May. 1st, 2006 01:15 am (UTC)
I think the website says it needs the info in advance but maybe you could write and give them a sob story about not knowing about the website, and could they please make an exception,yada,yada,yada....but considering you don't like Bush I wouldn't blame you for not doing it. Plus, I'm pretty sure Bush never actually sees those greetings or signs them personally.
May. 1st, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
happy birthday to your grandma! that is so cool. and you seem to be a great person for her too to be around because of how you are. you are one of the kindest souls i have encountered online i must say.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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