Friday, April 25, 2014
My oldest grandson was in kindergarten. Many schools in the city had a special day to promote closeness and understanding between children and their grandparents.
I had never heard of something like that but was thrilled to go. I have thoroughly enjoyed being Grandma.
When we arrived we were assembled in the cafeteria. It was early morning so the children served their grandparents juice, tea (or coffee), and sweet rolls.
I did not know most of the other grandparents but my grandson's other grandmother and step-grandfather were there too so I had someone to visit with.
It was at that time that they gave each grandparent a binder. Inside were pre-printed pages (that were professionally done and lovely) with instructions of what to write on each page. As I leafed through the pages I became excited.
The first page had a box for my name and a box for my husband's name. The second page was for the names of my son and daughter-in-law. Easy enough, right?
Then there were pages that asked the names of my children and their families, my grandson's family, great-grandparents. Just fill in the blanks. Still easy.
Now it became a little harder. Where did I grow up? What did the clothes of that time look like? What kind of music did I listen to? What historical events happened in my lifetime? How did I meet my husband? How was my grandson like my son, his father? How was my grandson like his aunt and uncles? How was he like his grandparents? Where did I go to school? Did I go to college? Tell what qualities I admire in my grandson. And so on and so on.
There were many other thought provoking things to write about. I had filled in the easier things before the little program the children performed for us.
Then we were escorted by our grandchildren to their classrooms. We were given a tour of the room. We saw artwork posted on the wall. We watched the children do school work and even participated. We were given an art project to complete with our grandchild. It was great fun.
When the day was over the grandparents took their grandchildren home from school. I had a wonderful time. My grandson was happy to be home and play outside. Also I could not wait to get home and finish my homework in the notebook.
I had so much fun filling out the pages and telling my grandson what things were like as I was growing up. Describing him and how he compares to my children was interesting and required some intensive thought.
The most fascinating thing was when I described historical things from my years before he was born. I found that I seemed to remember the sadder things. Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend going on a killing spree and killing 11 people. We did not live too far from where they began. Starkweather was the last execution in Nebraska before the death penalty was declared illegal.
I remember vividly still the death of President Kennedy and his funeral. I actually saw Jack Ruby shoot and kill Lee Harvey Oswald on television. Kennedy's funeral was the only thing on television for a week. I can still see it and hear the drum cadence in my mind.
At the time I wrote in the binder I seen three Popes die and three new popes chosen. The Viet Nam War claimed the life of my brother and thousands of other young men. My parents and the whole family were devastated. My grandson's father was named for my brother.
There were unmanned and manned rockets sent to space. Men actually walked on the moon. One space flight did not make it because the capsule caught fire on the launch pad and the astronauts inside were killed.
There were other things but those are the ones I remember writing about. I apologized to my grandson for only remembering sad things.
I told my grandson of the things we did for fun. Like drive-in movies and cruising the loop on Saturday nights. I told about the dances that were popular at the time. I talked about my favorite singers and actors.
I told of McCarthism. I described how we would "duck and cover" in air raid drills. We ahd those in case an atomic bomb came our way.
When I finished filling the pages I took the book and gave it to my grandson. That was the purpose of the binder. He would have my first-person account of the things in the binder. It was fulfilling to do on my part. My daughter-in-law has kept the book so that it will be there for the whole family.
I have been to several more grandparents day festivities but none of them had the binder. It was an excellent idea. I have seen similar books in mail order magazines but I have not ordered any... yet.
That book and urging from a couple of other people are what inspired me to write this blog. Thank you John and Ratty. It is an easy way to record memories as they pop into my mind.
What memories would you like to leave your family? Write them down and make your own binder. Or record them on a blog. You do not even have to publish it. Just save it as a draft if you want it to be private. Or dictate them in your own voice. It really is easy once you begin.