I never met my maternal grandparents, so my Grammie and Grandpa were my only grandparents. My dad’s mother and father. They came from Switzerland in the mid-20s, from a small town near Zurich, in the German part of Switzerland. Germans are known to play their cards close to their chest when it comes to emotions. They work hard, they are honest, but there isn’t a lot of sentimentality. You buck up. No hugs. That description fit my grandfather to a T. My grandmother, on the other hand, didn’t get the memo.
My grandfather was a wonderful man, as gentle as they come. I never heard his voice raised in anger. In fact, I barely heard his voice at all. He was quiet. He worked hard and he was kind to us. But when we said goodbye, it was with a handshake.
My grandmother was a different story. She was full of life and laughter. She teased us. She hugged us. She shared her stories with us. She gave us quarters to go to the bar next door to get strawberry pop to have with lunch. Don’t tell your mother, she would warn us, knowing full well that my mom knew what she was up to.
She was short, probably not 5 feet tall, and, well, shall we say plump? Oh, what the heck. She was overweight in the days when people didn’t worry so much about it. “You wouldn’t want to have a skinny grandmother, would you?” she used to say to us. And we didn’t. No way, Jose. We loved her just the way she was.
And we thought she was probably 150 years old, if a day.
I started thinking about this the other day as I watched my sister Jen play with her 3-year-old grandson Austin in our backyard. They were playing soccer. He would kick the ball and she would run and try to get it before he did. It was hard to do, because he would barely tap it so that it was always Advantage Austin. It suddenly occurred to me that my grandmother was probably only about our age when we were in our formative years. She was born in 1897, so in 1960, when I was 7, she was only 63. Only three years older than I am now. Honestly, she seemed so old. Her hair was white.
The thing is, I can’t imagine my grandmother running around kicking a soccer ball with her grandkids. She wore a housedress with an apron every single day of her life. She wore sensible shoes with heavy nylon stockings. Times were so different.
I wonder if our grandkids see us as old. Well, I don’t really wonder at all. I KNOW that they do. While I have myself fooled that my increasing amount of gray hair looks like highlights, I was given a reality check by my grandson. He was pointing out everyone’s hair color, and mine was gray. There you have it. He wasn’t judging, just stating a fact.
I’m not really going anywhere with this random blog, but I’m just reminding myself again how weird it is to see the years pass by and not really pay attention. And I’m also hoping that no matter how old I seem to my grandkids, they love Bill and me as much as I loved my grandparents.
This post linked to the GRAND Social