Grand Parent Memories.

The topic for the month was "Grand Parents".
This was a very hard topic. I didn't have much association with mine. Some died before, or just after, I was born. But I did come up with a couple of memories once I began to dig deep into the past.

                       How times have changed

Negative connection
I wasn't close to either of my two remaining grandparents.
My mother's mother died two years after I was born
My father's father. I don't know anything about him. He wasn't mentioned within my hearing.
I lived too far away to have much contact with them. We had to drive for hours to visit when my father wasn't working. The visits were very short.
To me. Both were grumpy.
Distant in approach.
Not showing love to me.
I was made to feel I wasn't wanted.
Distance from both of them may have caused us to have no connection. Even though my grandchildren live away from me, I still love them all the same. Treat them the same. I treat them all as equals not love one more than the other.
Back to my tale of woe. Maybe I didn't know the rules to meet with my grandmother's standards. The other grandchildren didn't seem to be picked on. Yelled at.
“Get you big bum off of the steps.”
“Don't go near the fowls.”
“Don't touch that.”
Every word to me was negative. Most of the time I kept well out of sight when visiting.
I worked on the theory of, if she couldn't see me I wouldn't be yelled at, became my motto.
The gun she kept handy was a warning to me until I grew older. I could picture being shot. I didn't know the rifle was there to shoot the snakes that slithered through the open windows.
I would have felt more safer if I'd been told about the toilet in the backyard. Should have had a warning sign.
Open the lid.
Look for snakes.
Hang on tight and don't dare look down the hole.
The bottom of the hole was a long way down. Unless the hole had been in use for some time. The building was moved each time the hole was nearing the top. Placed over the new one.
The shower. It should have had a warning sign as well. A real interesting invention. This should have had a set of rules to operate it.
Take out tin.
Pour a small amount of petrol in the tin.
Place back in hole of pipe.
Strike a match.
Stand well back to throw in the lit match.
The fuel exploded into flames to roar up the pipe to heat the water on the journey down for you to have a shower.
Quickly bathe before the water ran cold.
Watch out for frogs. Toads. And snakes that may enter beneath the wall. Or over the top.
Be quick during the winter or turn blue from the westerly winds.
Have you guessed yet?
The shower was beneath the tank stand. Sheets of corrugated iron. There was a door with a slip latch. This was a time when growing up was tougher. You made do with what you had available.
She finally began to thaw toward me in later years.
Not a close connection.

                                    Chimney Smoker.

My grandfather. On my mother's side.
I didn't become acquainted with him until I was nearing teenage years.
He lived with one of his daughters.
He had his own bedroom. A window opened into the dining area. Sounds a bit posh written like that. It wasn't.
The eating area had a wooden table with a stool along the wall near the window. There were a few chairs to accommodate more people.
There was a small table in his room near the window. This was littered with bottles of medication. No one dared to throw any of it away even if it was out of date.
My aunt was only allowed in the room to change the sheets on the bed.
The way I remember him is seeing him sitting out near the front door in a chair. The seat made of canvas. It had wood arm holders and a place to lift the legs up from the floor out in front. An old type on today's designs.
He was the first person you seen on entering the front door.
He rolled tobacco in his hands before rolling into a cigarette. Very chunky one.
His fingers were stained from holding it.
He coughed.
He didn't talk very much.
Very grumpy if you made too much noise.
He did nothing. No while I was there.
I believed he had this attitude other people were there to wait on him.
The only time he moved was to go to the toilet. Meals. Shower. Bed. On occasions he drove the car to take his daughter shopping.
I remember sitting on one of the side seats in the back with the wind blowing in my hair. This was of a time when riding in the back was allowed. Way before seat-belts.
Seeing how smoking affected him is one reason I didn't take up the bad habit.
And I remember what happened when he died.
My mother seen this as a bad omen. She nearly cancelled the operation for me to have my tonsils removed.
For years doctors wouldn't do the operation because of the colour of my hair. Red was suppose to be a sign the person was a bleeder. Meaning the patient would die during surgery.
I'd had all the tests done.
Taken the tablets to avoid excessive bleeding.
The had to be removed.
I was always sick from the poison they let into my system.
I'm still here to tell the story.
I spent time with my aunt after leaving the hospital.
I helped clean out the room my grandfather used.
What a mess?
I made countless journeys outside to empty tablets in the toilet pan.
Found numerous sets of false teeth. Glasses.
Years of dust once we moved the furniture.
The clean smell came through the window at weeks end.
My grandfather was probably cursing us for cleaning away all his rubbish.
No more smoke fowling the air one entering the house.
The fire had been doused.

                                 My cup floods over

Grand. Mother.
Apart. I'd be thinking this to mean a great lady who was loving. Kind. An angel of a mother who knew the ropes to care and nurture me.
I didn't have any wins in the grandparents stakes.
Add the two words together and I go grumpy. Distant. Uncaring. I was made to feel I didn't belong. A stranger. I was there using up space that wasn't mine.
Looking back over the years. There is a gap where there should have been closeness.
Have I been searching all my life to fill the valley with replacements?
Have I been trying to find the love my grandparents didn't provide?
All through the years I felt more comfortable with older people.
When I lived in the country I sold raffle tickets for an elderly lady. I'd ride my bicycle out to all the farms. Or catch them at the railway station when delivering their milk to the train.
I did odd jobs for an elderly couple who owned a hotel by watering plants and cleaning.
I played cards with the railway workers when they were in camp. The became like an extended family.
I stood for what seemed like hours turning the handle of the butter churner for another grandmother figure.
Throughout my life I've been more comfortable with the older generation. Even though I get along with people of all ages.
I love my grandchildren. I like to treat them all the same way. Not preferring one more than the rest. Playing favourites. To do so causes a rift in the family.
I have just returned from a bus trip with a motley group of elderly, handicapped, and not so old.
Everyone were friendly.
Helped each other with load, and unloading, luggage from the bus.
The making of breakfast.
The taking out of the rubbish.
Watched out for each other.
Made sure everyone was on the bus.
We were like a close knit family by the time we returned home.
Since I returned home. I have taken one elderly friend, who is 94, to a couple of outing with me.
I am watching the home for another while she is away visiting her family.
I missed not going to bingo to visit other grandmotherly people because I had a tradesman coming to do some work for me.
Oh. Well. I might have the second rug finished by the time I visit again. Now the weather has cooled I can get to crochet the rugs to keep them warm.
I feel all these people are like grandparents I miss out on growing up. And the brothers and sisters I didn't have with the younger set.
My cup runs over with family I have gathered to fill the void in my life.
The memories I have of the ones who have passed through my life.

The hole left with their passing.


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