Grandma was a storyteller. Since she can no longer tell her stories herself, I thought I would share some on this blog. I believe she always wanted to be a published writer. I’m working on another project to accomplish that for her, but in the meantime, this will do. Each time I post one of her stories, it will be tagged as “Grandma’s Stories.” Consider me as a collector of notes, and editor of sorts. I may write a little here or there to pull her notes together, put things in context, but these are her stories, not mine. They are, by turns, poignant, silly, charming, and deeply thought-provoking.
I believe most of the facts in these stories are true, a memoir of sorts. To start, here are some of Grandma’s initial thoughts on writing her “memoir.”
The purpose of this story is to give us a sense of where we came from, and to urge us to look forward to where we are going. This is to remind us, this is just a beginning. Not an ending, but a fascinating journey!
Our parents pretty much did the best they could. our view of the world was formed by our unpredictable family life. Our needs and our feelings were largely ignored. We didn’t know that our home life was abnormal or damaging. It never occurred to us to compare families.
If I chose to write a book on how to raise delinquent children, perhaps I’d use the contents of this story. However, none of us have turned to a life of crime. In retrospect, we know that what we thought was our best was not good enough. Our lack of knowledge is a bitter pill that we just keep trying to swallow. It limited our natural talents and potential. I guess this is just the nature of our human frailties.
Let us look at our family with compassion and realism. It is not fair to judge them, without getting to know them. After all, even in this enlightened age, what do we really know about parenting? Our parents did not recognize the full impact of what was happening to us – nor did they really have much control over them.
We are told that in order to be free, we need to face our pain and fears squarely, think them through carefully, and talk about them openly. Freedom is supposed to come very gradually, with time, exploration, and reflection. Only by struggling to understand them and the many obvious and subtle ways in which they have affected our later lives, can we begin to untie the knots within us and take charge of our own destiny. Understanding and knowledge are our means of obtaining personal liberty and power. (Let’s hope we live that long!)
As my friend and author, Helen Cooper Floyd says, “…memory is a fragile thing, full of holes and …sometimes…patched…”
– E. L. King