Sunday, March 08, 2009

Family perspectives...

My grandfather's funeral was yesterday -- in Florida.

I spent plenty of time in Florida this month and didn't go down for it -- which was fine by me.

Instead, yesterday I went to visit my grandfather's sister (GS). She's his youngest sister -- she's 82. GS is in an assisted living place, smokes and drinks a bit and has her wits about her.

While I was in Florida, my grandmother had a lot of good things to say about her mother-in-law --- my great grandmother. When my grandparents married and settled in Iowa, GG taught grandma how to can vegetables, cook, take care of the kids and generally do things right. GG was a strong woman who knew what needed to be done and how it should be done. My grandmother needed that kind of help, as she grew up without a mother and without a huge garden... where she lived in the UP, you couldn't grow anything.

When the subject of GG came up with GS, GS had a very different perception of how things worked between GG and grandma. GS thought that GG was pushy, demanding and not very nice to grandma.

In some ways, I think both are probably correct -- From their different perspectives they interpreted GG's actions in a different light. Grandma thought GG was being helpful. Grandma realized that she didn't have any clue as to what to do with babies, lots of vegetables or a big old house in Iowa -- these things were in GG's realm of expertise. Grandma needed help and GG gave it to her. GS saw GG as being pushy and telling Grandma what to do -- which was probably also true -- because GG was that way...

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