My grandma and grandpa’s house is a special place to me. We go there once or twice a week. We were supposed to go today, but grandma’s on a trip.
[What do you like that’s downstairs? What do you like to do there that’s different from our house?]
Legos! Daddy’s old Legos. And then I like playing with the nerf guns.
[They have epic nerf guns don’t they?]
Sort of going along with sort of the changed relationship, I think one that’s changed is the one with my sister. Because she’s an older sister and so, when I was growing up I felt like I had two and a half parents. And she’s good at music, and she did piano, violin. She was in the Iowa Highland Pipes–it was her and a bunch of people our dad’s age. When I was older I started being more competitive, and now I think she’s probably my best friend and is supportive of me. She’s watched a couple of our practices when she’s been in town.
[So sisters and brothers can be, can turn out to be best friends. Did you kids understand what David said about how he had two and a half parents, and what he meant?]
* When his sister knew that his parents were expecting another child, Betsy said, that’s his sister, “It’s going to be a boy and his name is such-and-such.” And that’s what they named him.
[Luckily you turned out to be a boy!]
I have a great aunt who’s about 85 and she’s always been single, never married, and has always put her family first. And she used to take my dad out on vacations and watch him and his siblings, and then she helped take care of me and my siblings. And now it’s fun to be able to share her with my kids. We’ve been trying to make trips over to the Quad Cities to see her, and we get to go to the zoo, like I went to the zoo with her when I was little. And then we’ve been going to other places that I remember going with her. To be able to share that with my kids has been kind of nice.
I can talk about somebody who’s approximately my age actually. A very dear friend of mine, whom I knew for years and years who had the best smile and the best laugh and was so talented in so many ways. One of the most creative musical talents I ever met. He was a good friend to me for many years. We were involved in creative endeavors together. He did the musical score for a play I wrote once and that we produced together. That was a special time. He gave me a place to live when I was in a particularly difficult time and needed a friend to take me in. He suffered from multiple sclerosis and had terrible pain for years and years and years that he never got adequate treatment for, which led to a lot of mental health issues from all his suffering, and he chose to end his life several years ago. I really really miss him, but I miss the person he used to be. Not the person he became when he was so in pain and so tormented. It was brought to my mind, a lot of complicated issues, you know, things like he had several suicide attempts that failed before he was successful, if you can call it that, and then was given debilitating medical bills for the treatment he received that he didn’t want. You know? That put him in all kinds of financial trouble. So, it’s a complicated system, our healthcare system, and it’s complicated to give people the help they need or help they want or help they don’t need or don’t want. And it’s hard when talents blaze out.
I have one. We’ve talked about children remembering their grandparents. Well, I’m a grandma and some of my great memories are spent with my grandchildren, particularly my grandson. He was sick a lot when he was little, had tubes in his ears, put in a couple times. And you know, loss of hearing and so forth. He’s getting better, but he loves to spend time with grandma and I used to get to babysit him when he was too sick to go to school. Christmas before last his dad had been gone for a while and he and his mom came. They were coming to our house for dinner and they stopped off to pick up something and he said, “I thought we were going to Grandma’s house. This doesn’t look like Grandma’s house to me.” And then they stopped somewhere else, he says, “This isn’t Grandma’s house either.” So it was kind of cool to know that he has as much fun as I do.
I get Meals on Wheels delivered to me. Just for noon time, Mondays through Friday, and this one lady says, “You know,”–it sounds like I’m bragging on myself, but the inspiration you know comes from within me–and she said, “I like to come to your door because you always have a smile on your face.” And I said, “Really?” And she said yes I do. And you know, I thought to myself, “I’ve got to keep smiling.” Except for my enemies I won’t. But I’ve always, even in high school they said, “You have a ready smile,” you know. But that made me feel good. She was really nice. She said, “You always have a smile on your face.”
Well, it made me feel good inside and I thought inspiration, if I can keep on doing it I have I hope that person feels good too.
Just a smile. That’s all. Just a smile.
My great grandfather was a special person to me. He recently passed away, he was like ninety-five. Before he passed away he could only sit in a chair, but I have some vague memories of him from when I was young. He would make some chocolates and cookies and all kinds of sweet little treats.
Adult: Who is your important person?
Kid: Our grandma.
Adult: Your grandma. Can you tell us about your grandma? What’s something special about your grandma? What do you do with her that you really like?
Kid: She takes us out to movies. And we stay the night at their house.
Parent: That’s especially special because we’ve only been living back here for a year and so you get to spend lots of time with grandma now.
Yeah, because we’re five miles away instead of a thousand miles away.
Adult: Oh, wow. That’s a good thing.
Kid: Yeah, we used to be, how many miles away?
Parent: A thousand.
Adult: A thousand? So how many hours?
Parent: Fifteen. Twenty with kids.
Well, I was lucky because I had two grandmas. I remember my dad’s mom, who was born on an island and came over probably when she was nineteen or so. I don’t believe that she ever did learn to read and write. As a farm wife in northern Iowa, you know, it was hard times, in the twenties and thirties. There were stories of her helping neighbors who had kids that were sick. But when she was older and she stayed with us, a couple of things I remember–she was afraid of the thunder. So if we had a thunderstorm, she would go into a corner. Even though she was probably eighty-eight at that time, so she had been in the United States for seventy years, her Irish brogue was still so strong that sometimes you couldn’t understand her. But she was just really gentle. And she lived long enough to see our two children, which was a cool thing.
My first memory of music is when I went to a camp when I was four or five years old, and I fell in love with music. And I remember the first group I really got into was Peter, Paul, and Mary. And I think the first songs that I remember that we sang at camp were Marvelous Toy and Day in the Sun.