Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I know someone who's Gramma passed away last night. I hang out on a message forum for women and there is a very generous woman there who cared for her Gramma. Her Gramma turned 100 years old in December. Her Gramma says funny things and I find that I crack up whenever I read one of her stories. Her Gramma had an amazing history that this woman shared with us. So even though I don't "know" them, and they certainly don't know me, I feel like I do. You know?

Sometimes my Grandma tells me stories from her childhood or when she was my age and I feel that strange feeling of knowing what it's like to be there. There's so much history in her and I just feel so safe and confident when she shares it with me. Over the next little while I'm going to try to share as many of Grandma's stories so that I can remember the feelings she brought out in me when she told me them.

My favourite story of Grandma's is the one about moving to Canada. When my Mom was a couple of years old my Grandparents decided to move to Canada. Back in the day, the men would head to Canada, get settled and then the wives and children would follow several months later. My Papa was an engineer and he left with Grandma's sister Chrissie's husband, Uncle Bill. He and Uncle Bill headed straight for Toronto, got jobs, rented apartments and sent telegrams home to their wives. I can't imagine not being able to communicate the way we do today, like NOW. THIS INSTANT. A telegram would take a week or 2 to get to my Grandma and then another week for the response to get back to Papa!

After they were gone for a month or so, Auntie Chrissie received a telegram from Uncle Bill that said not to bether coming, they weren't moving and he was coming home. Grandma remembers the disappointment she had when she found out. This changed everything. Moving to Canada without her Sister was not what she planned. Grandma felt that Uncle Bill wasn't giving it a chance, she was hurt, upset and MAD. She says she "I called Bill all sorts of names, the worst ones, names I'm ashamed to admit that I said". Needless to say, Auntie Chrissie was hurt. Auntie Chrissie was so upset that she moved out of their family home and into her Mother-in-law's house. Then Grandma made her point by saying "she must have been pretty mad if she moved in with her mother-in-law who she didn't like much!". Grandma got the most upset when she explained that her whole family was mad at her, that her younger brothers, her Mother and the biggest of all, her Father, was angry at her for driving Chrissie away.

For the next few weeks Grandma continued to get ready to move from Scotland to Canada with her little 2 year old child. As the time to leave got closer and closer her Dad talked her into going to apologize to her sister. Then she laughed and said "he tricked me, we knocked on the door and then he ran off and hid and left me alone to apologize!" Way to go Great Grandpa! Then Grandma told me how she apologized to Chrissie and that Chrissie thanked her but didn't know if she could forgive her. Auntie Chrissie told Grandma that she might come to see her off, which was now only a day or 2 away.

At this point, Grandma and my own eyes are glistening from the tears that are welling up in both of us. Grandma describes the day that she left, the whole family and extended family went to the harbour to see her off. She noted that it was a huge event but all she could do is watch for her sister. She says the clock kept ticking but there was no sign of Auntie Chrissie until, with only a few moments before Grandma needed to board the ship, she was looking over everyone's heads and saw Auntie Chrissie running down the dock towards the large crowd of people. She told me how they held each other in a long embrace and whispered their apologies and forgiveness in each others ears.

Grandma left Scotland that day. I can't imagine the strength it would take to move away from everything you know, the secure feeling of having your family and friends nearby. Leaving must have been the hardest thing she'd ever done (other than childbirth without drugs) but she happily says that she's glad she did it and she'd do it all over again.


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