My grandchildren just might grow up thinking people don’t kayak or ride motorcycles until they are very, very old.


My grandmothers were age 54 and 65 when I was born. As far as I know, neither one ever drove a car, took a trip that didn’t involve visiting family, or chose to exert herself to stay fit. She didn’t need to, work took care of that.

My grandfathers drove, but I never really knew them. One died before I was born and the other was someone I heard more about than ever got to know first hand.

Whether I knew them or not, I am confident my grandparents never traveled to another country, learned a second language, kayaked, swam for the fun of it, ran in a charity race, took dance lessons, wrote a book, or even took photos of their grandchildren. I don't think I ever saw my grandmother taking a photograph. She probably didn't own a camera. Her life revolved around work (until age 78!), family, church and doctoring, until she was so debilitated she ended up in a nursing home.   

If you’re old enough to have grandchildren, what do you do that you’re sure your grandmother or grandfather never had a chance to do? 

Nana and Grandpa kayak at Adams Reservoir, Woodford, Vermont, 08/07/10



08/08/2010 18:17

Our grandmothers were born in the 19th century, so their lives were much restricted compared to ours. My paternal grandmother emigrated from Norway as a young woman and started a new life in the USA. I often wonder why she came, and how she felt being cut off from her family for the rest of her life. My maternal grandmother was widowed early and had to work hard to support her child. She was independent but not a happy person.

Both my grandfathers died long before I was born, one during the influenza pandemic of 1920, the other of heart disease when in his early 50s.

I'm grateful for my good health at age 67, and all the opportunities I've had along the way to explore life and this beautiful world.

08/14/2010 07:36

Never knew grandparents and am sure my life has no comparison to theirs lived in the early 20th century. For my own grandchildren, all under ten years, their universe and environment is completely different from mine in the mid 20th.

It pleases me that grandparenting has an integral place on your blog. Before I moved to Portland, O., lived in NYC where many retired professional women seemed uncomfortable with grandmotherhood as an identity.

08/17/2010 07:53

Elaine at Late Fruit poses the same question and comes up with some interesting answers on her wonderful blog at http://latefruit.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/how-do-we-learn-about-old-people/
I think you'll find her post very interesting.

rita blieberg
08/28/2010 06:32

grandparents of yesteryear frequently died early, baked, knitted, rocked in their rocking chairs, and cuddled babies.
grandparents of today swim, hike, read tons of books, see shows, travel, have a globally wide circle of friends, but...........both gave and give lots of love to their "babies", just in different ways!


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