Friday, March 13, 2009

"Touching The Past On Friday 13th"


Just A Thought:You should be reading this while listening to brilliant Stevie Wonder singing his "Superstition"! I am!
It's Friday 13th. I woke up thinking about both my Grandmas. I'll tell you why in a minute. But now that I'm a grandmother myself I often think about those grandmas of mine, and "I wish they were here" ( it's written on the postcard that's my mind!) and I picture their faces, imagine them on the stairs or talking together in the kitchen..and sometimes I catch the lilt of their voices in the depths of my memory..

It's the story with lots of us, isn't it....this craving to ask questions we didn't know we'd ever want to ask..and to talk at length to folk long gone??! We want to wallow in their wisdom , to hear their history PROPERLY ( because as children we didn't really listen, did we?) ...this history which you suddenly now realise, is also SO much your own. You want to hold the mirror of their thinking... to help reflect your own. And you want to stretch backwards... to gather in those precious folk and show them your own new precious ones, those who came after and of whom you're so proud...
I also think often about my own rather beautiful mother, she who swizzled on high heels well into her eighties, wore coral lipstick and the loveliest of colours.... who charmed my sons with her ginger biscuits, her clattery jangle of silver bracelets and her warm funny stories..

And they all had superstitions, these grandmothers. They had public ones, private ones, ones they told me lots about. And they had secret ones....ones I never knew about.

And now I'm seeing that some are deep inside me.


16 Comments:

Blogger Philippa said...

You are so right, Jan. How I long to talk to my grandmother, my great aunts,even my father (now dead for 33 years) about my family's past. As you say, we didn't listen, didn't hear when we were young; we didn't appreciate how importance our heritage was until it is too late. There are far too many gaps in my knowledge that I probably won't ever fill now. So sad. By the way, a lovely image of (my) Auntie Evelyn with her big, clangy bangles!

9:23 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Philippa:
Yes, and I have some of those bangles but I never wear them as somehow they're never "right" on me...
I tend to think we've imbibed lots of their history without realising it, that it IS there after all... and we discover it bit by bit through our thoughts, reactions, the conclusions we reach..
And as for our Aunts: Ruby, Ethel etc...they suddenly appear in disguise.. in stuff I write and I think somewhere they know all this..
Hmm!

9:43 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

I only ever knew one of my grandmothers. Mostly what I remember was that when I was small she used to hide enamel bluebirds for me to find.

My other grandmother died before I was born and she has always fascinated me the most. She was a great reader and I have a box of her books wherein she wrote her name, place of residence and the year, so I get a sort of picture of her living in those places at that time.

There is a family memoir, written by one of her nieces, who certainly didn't approve of her all, though at the same time, gave the impression that she was quite glamourous.

5:14 am  
Blogger Jon M said...

My Grandparents died when I was quite young so I only just remember them. One grandfather died forty years before I was born, which always boggles the mind. I'm terribly superstitious but I'm feeling very lucky on this Friday 13th!

9:54 am  
Blogger Jan said...

JonM;
I heard your news when I visited Caroline signing her books in Waterstones last w/end!!
That's great news.
I think I'll be seeing you at the Uni sometime in April??

9:59 am  
Blogger Jon M said...

I hope so but I've not heard any dates yet! Looking forward to it though!

10:40 am  
Blogger jinksy said...

Makes old biddies like me glad that I've written stuff down, after all. At one time, I thought it was a useless exercise... Maybe I should rethink!

1:02 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

I never knew either of my grandmothers, but I wish my great aunt was still here, she was my surrogate granny and I didn't appreciate her enough.

I think telling stories about yours to your grandchildren would be a good thing to do. In researching my family I've been surprised at how tiny snippets of something half remembered is more often than not supported by the facts.

10:43 pm  
Blogger Kay said...

All so true and beautifully, wonderfully put. You have made me think of my own grandmothers and all that I don't know about them. I still have my mother, so I need to ask her as much as I can whenever I'm with her.

2:59 am  
Blogger Debs said...

I feel exactly the same. I loved my two grandmothers, they were such a strong influence in my life and always supportive and there when I needed them.

9:42 am  
Blogger Sarah Laurence said...

How sweet to carry those memories with you. My grandfather the scientist encouraged me to go into science but the other died when I was little. My grandmothers had some issues that didn't make them the best grandmothers. My parents and my in laws are fabulous grandparents. It adds so much to childhood to have that. I'm sure you're a fabulous grannie too.

3:46 pm  
Blogger Mickmouse said...

Grandmothers give such evocative memories, perhaps because many of them are experienced as a child. The clothes they wear, their little perculiarities, their jewellery etc. They are larger than life characters for many of us. I lost my last grandparent last year but I have memories of the other two I knew very vividly.
Michelle
x

9:11 pm  
Blogger Isabelle said...

I adored one granny, who lived till I was 30. The other one I hardly knew - she succumbed to dementia, alas, when I was ten or so - but I'm always fascinated at the extreme contrast between what my aunt (her daughter) says about her (all very positive) and what my mother (her daughter-in-law) says (not so positive!).

I personally am not a granny. Sigh. Though I'd love to be.

11:27 pm  
Blogger Exmoorjane said...

Ah this resonates as my mother (rather than grandmother) died just after Christmas and at every turn I find myself wishing I had asked those questions. We always think we have more time than we do. Now the memories are muddled as, when we try to piece them together, my siblings and I, we find the past is different for each of us.
My grandmothers died before i was born - another sadness.
Thank you so much for dropping by my blog....
PS - off to see (finally) slumdog tomorrow - at the local fleapit (can't wait).

5:26 pm  
Anonymous Susan said...

Now a grandmother myself i'm beginning to want to know more about my family tree - which piece am I in the puzzle? Then after attending a family funeral last week ,names I had heard spoken in the past became a reality. There to my great surprise I discovered I had a cousin living in the same small market town as myself. Her grandfather and my grandmother were brother and sister. We are second cousins ! Then more strange I have spoken to her on many occasions as she and her husband own and run the local wine shop in the town and where does she live? Just down the road!

2:45 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Jinsky:
Good for youu.
It will be valuable!

Apprentice:
I feel exactly the samr re MY great aunts ( one in particular) and I bet Philippa ( who writes on this blog occassionally and is my 2nd cousin) feels exactly the same...

Kay:
Do it!
You can NEVER know enough...

Debs:
We are lucky to have known these folk, aren't we?
Thanks Debs.

Sarah:
It's something that surprises you...you don't realise how special it is till you're involved!

Mickmouse:
Lovely that your memories ARE so vivid.
Good hearing you.

Isabelle:
It's always interested/intrigued me this "different" view folk have of the same family member.
I knew a woman who had 3 daughters, who all thought of her in completely different lights. And they called her by different names too...Mum, Mummy, Mother.
I suppose THIS is the stuff of story??!

Exmoor Jane!
Good to meet you. Hope you enjoy(ed) SlumDog.
Mumbai a far cry from your neck of the woods...

SusaN;
Good meeting you and WHAT a story by way of an intro!
Thanks!

6:07 pm  

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