This Saturday Grandma and I had our first Facebook lesson. Since it was the first time out, all we really covered was opening an account for her and showing her what it looks like. I’d been saying for a while now that I was going to do this — and even got an old eMac (with low resolution so the letters are big) specifically for her. However, each time I mentioned it she chuckled and shot me a look that said “Yeah riiiight, oooo-kay.” I think the look meant to imply both “When are you gonna get around this?” as well as “Me? Facebook? I don’t think so!”
So when she finished looking at photos of her new great-grandson on my account at the desktop and I turned my laptop around and exclaimed, “Check it out! I made you your own,” I half expected to be met with a dismissive handwave as she walked away.
Instead, she watched attentively. And when I explained the concept of having “friends,” she began asking questions, ‘What about this person; are they on here? Can I see this? Can I see that?’ She was tooooootally into it!
We added all the family members we could find, and even found four people from her high school ‘class of 192x.’ She didn’t remember any of them, but I think she liked seeing other people her age participating.
The next night we found the group my aunt made for her family, appropriately titled “Descendents of [grandma’s mom and dad].” My aunt put it together when my grandma’s sister passed away, making my grandma the last of her siblings. Grandma has had fun going through old photos and my aunt and her cousins are having fun trying to remember where the pictures are from.
Grandma had never seen the group in real-time, so we sat down and went through the 72 photos. She explained who was who, who had joined the army, where they had traveled to, how they ended up on the west coast, yada, yada. I felt ashamed at one point when I realized I couldn’t name all her sisters and brothers. Of course they were younger in the photo than I’d ever seen any of them, but still… what kind of granddaughter am I?
One photo in particular stood out. My great-uncle had moved to Cali after the war and got married there. The wedding photo posted is the only wedding photo anyone has ever seen of the event. Apparently something happened with the photographer and they never received the wedding photos. When one of his kids found this one photo and posted it, it was the first time my grandma had ever seen him and his bride in their wedding attire. “My parents never went to the wedding,” she told me. “They didn’t have the money.”
Wow! I thought about the reaction someone would have this day in age if their parents said they couldn’t afford to attend their wedding. Forget that, I’ve seen brides freak out on their girlfriends for not attending a destination bachelorette party that’s gonna run them $800 for three days. I mean, they have reality TV shows based on demanding, uncompromising brides. And here, my grandma had never even seen her brother and his bride on their big day. Wow!
Another cool thing was my grandma’s wedding dress. She bought it at Saks for $50 — which she notes, “was a lot back then!” She wore it and two of her sisters-in-law wore it. Her daughter would have also worn it, had not been slightly destroyed from a run through the washing machine. (Note: Don’t put satin in the washing machine!) And the veil my grandma wore? Her sister-in-law in Cali it to her (the one who’s wedding she couldn’t attend), and two more people wore it after her. Talk about getting use out of your wedding gear.
And here we are, worried about wearing the same dress to two different weddings, of people who don’t know each other, and we’re only guests.
I couldn’t help but wonder after that: What are we looking for when we shop? Does it make us happier?
Every story my grandma has is one of happiness. It was one that brought a smile to her face. And none of them were about shopping or buying things or any stuff she owned. The stories were about the people she loved and the things she did with them.
I’m an adult. (Or at least I like to think so.) Years ago, I thought that at this point in my life I’d be living it up in the city. And I guess I could be. But when I stop and think about it, I recognize all the time I’ll miss not being near Grandma.
Saturday breakfasts on the patio where I ramble all my blog ideas to her and she confirms that they are awesome. (She’s an amazing confidence booster!) Her rants about the Mets blowing it in the last inning. (She’s been watching them for decades and she still seems surprised when they do that!) Sunday night dinners when she decides to stray from her usual cheese and crackers diet and whips up a meatloaf. And weekend mornings when I plead for help at Wordscraper on Facebook because my friend is always 200 points ahead of me. (Ever play a game with her? She doesn’t know the meaning of losing! Always get her on your team!) Or how cute she is when she asks ME for help on a crossword puzzle. She knows I’m crap at them so when she asks I know she’s really desperate.
Hanging at home with her reminded me of what I’d miss. And what I do miss when I’m running around like a lunatic trying to tame life.
But she says that our running around is what keeps her young. So if I’m her fountain of youth, I guess I’ll keep running around like a lunatic.
Anything for grandma!