…..And I Thought I Knew All About Those Grandparents!


As Thanksgiving is upon us, most of us will be hearing and telling family tales. Sometimes you think you’ve heard almost every family story (often multiple times), but I’ve been so wonderfully surprised recently....and inspired.

A couple years ago, my kids had a school project to interview an elder over vacation. One chose my mother and the other chose his grandfather on his dad’s side. Both grandparents are now in their 80s, so their childhoods were the 30’s and 40’s - one in Chicago, the other Erie, PA. It’s so remarkable to hear their personal stories and also see some similarities. A few of my favorites excerpts are below:

Grandson: What kind of food did you eat?

Grandma: It’s hard to remember. Back then, we didn’t have that many kinds of bread. I used to like white bread with butter and sugar. It tasted very good, but it’s bad for you. I liked Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. We’d eat ham for special occasions and two kinds of potato salad, warm w/ bacon and a cold potato salad and jello with fruit cocktail.

Grandson: Did you eat at restaurants?

Grandma: We didn’t go to restaurants very often. Sometimes we did pick up Chinese take-out. Chop Suey. No pizza. After we ate at home we would go to a place called Prince Castle and get ice cream.

Grandson: What did you like to do as a child? Did you go anywhere?

Grandma: In the summer we would go to an amusement park called Riverview. It’s been torn down now. I enjoyed the rides. My favorite ride was the Flying Turns. I also liked the Parachute. We would also go to the Indiana Sand Dunes.

Grandson: What do you want people to remember about you?

Grandma: That I loved my family.

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Grandson: What kind of food did you eat?

Grandpa: Spaghetti. Chicken noodle soup. I would eat Cheerios for breakfast.

Grandson: Did you eat at restaurants?

Grandpa: Not very often. Very seldom.

Grandson: What did you like to do as a child? Did you go anywhere?

Grandpa: I used to play baseball every day. We went to Niagra Falls. We went on picnics.

Grandson: What do you want people to remember about you?

Grandpa: That I married a wonderful lady and I love our children (and our grandchildren).

This Thanksgiving, ask an older relative some questions about way back when. Even better, get a youngster to ask while you can listen in. It’s also fabulous to get older relatives together. I loved hearing my mother and her sister regale us with stories together. One would bring up a memory that would spark a new recollection that I'd never heard. It's magical.

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#traditions #Historical #grandparent #family #Chicago #Erie #Riverview #IndianaSandDunes #NiagraFalls #baseball

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