|No, this is not my grandmother. |
It is Audrey Hepburn. Close enough.
My grandma was a hard person to get to know. But, you know me, I could talk to anyone, so I broke those barriers down by the 20 bazillion questions a kid asks. Over time, I think she grew to find me amusing and my curiosity was cooler than a cat's.
All through the years, I could sense a distance from Uncle Paul and dad to their parents. They respected them, but it wasn't the gushing love story of my mother's family. If I didn't hear my dad with my own ears call his parents "mom and dad", I would have guessed he would have addressed them as "mother and father." I didn't really get that until I was older. As a young child, I was taught to respect all elders and automatically accepted another set of grandparents as cool and interesting.
Grandpa was a sports fanatic which went along with his coaching. He also was influential in Native American culture in South Dakota and mentoring them in sports. I think he inherited that from his parents and grandfather.
Grandma dressed to the nines and always wore a wig. She never went out in public looking like a slob and always accessorized. But, the wig thing was a childhood mystery to me. I don't know why she continued with that even after the wig generation was over. I would catch myself staring at it to see if it would move. I studied her head often. I don't think I ever saw a wig hair out of place and that was probably thanks to many cans of Aquanet or wig glue.
|Wig glue? Sound right.|
Grandma went through the depression and was very, very frugal. In fact, I think my dad and brother felt slighted at holidays because she and grandpa would not part with funds for those train sets. They also felt grandpa gave more attention to the sports teams he coached than his own boys. They were athletic, but really didn't get on the overkill sports wagon. They did not follow in either parent's footsteps. Instead, both of them were military bound, not by choice mostly, and dad went to the Army while Uncle Paul went into the Air Force.
When I was a kid, I read many of the letters dad and Paul had sent to grandma. In fact, letters were a big deal to them. She and grandpa sent me very detailed stories over the years. I wish I still had all of them. Sadly, most were discarded after I read them a couple times.
Grandma shared her son's letters with me and showed me the foreign gifts they had presented to her. Maybe she didn't share her feelings with them, but she was very proud of her boys and felt they were strong. But what was lacking was affection. It was as if it were a business transaction she was speaking of. It wasn't until years later, this deeply saddened me and was brought to surface when my dad or uncle spoke of their feelings about things as kids. When dad got cancer, grandma was always worried about him and checked with me to make sure he was getting his vegetables and grill me about stuff maybe my parents didn't disclose to her because she was a worry wart.
But anyway, enough of the backstory. So it was around my later teens when grandma started to panic and contact dad by means of odd phone calls. These calls were out of breath and in typical emergent fashion when someone has an adrenaline dump after a big moment.
"Bob, did you hear that Bo Derek has herpes? Who is that anyway, anyone I should know? I think it is deeply concerning that anyone would tell the world about it. You know what else? I really called because you should find another wife, Bob, they say love can prevent heart attacks. You have cancer. You don't need other problems."
Those who don't know my dad, would have missed him covering the phone mic and stretching himself as far as he could go with the cord and whisper to me, "You're grandmother has fucking lost it." The look in his eyes was despair because we had to do something like put her in a home.
We were in Wyoming and she was in South Dakota. That could not happen over night.
So, dad got off the phone and called Uncle Paul letting him know his mother had lost it and he was going to try to secretly contact his dad and talk to him. It did not work according to plan.
"Son, your mother has been reading some newspaper and coming to me with all these stories. I got quite bored with it and told her to call her children." Grandpa went on to talking about the latest game on the television and threw some more in there about his coaching days.
My dad was very frustrated. He eventually learned my grandmother was reading The National Enquirer like it was the gospel and Jesus Christ had sent it himself. He couldn't believe it. No matter how many times grandma was told it was a tabloid and yellow journalism, she did not listen and believed all of it was real.
Why? Because she grew up in a time when people were not allowed to lie to the public through journalism. They had responsible reporting and rules. Now things had changed and she didn't understand that, so she continued about her way in her isolated bubble. She absorbed all those quick blurbs in the grocery aisle until she subscribed to the magazine. My dad was so mad. I think he was mostly embarrassed and didn't want to be bothered by Bo Derek's herpes outbreak.
And now we have "fake news" as our president calls it. But what has happened, really? Simple answer: Our political systems have taken over and control journalism. Responsible reporting is hard to pinpoint. And oh, so many leaks. I mean seriously, the White House is no longer a fortress of secret information, but a water bottle blasted by a shotgun in preparation for Zombie training.
I chuckled yesterday when I read that the president had told several confidants about his wavering of the Paris agreement and climate change. Ok. Those confidants are shit, Mr. President. They told everyone. Or did he orchestrate that?
I don't get too stirred up anymore because time and time again the mainstream media is proven a fool or putting the camera up granny's skirt only to expose they have perverted the truth. I don't even know what that means. Anyway, it sounded like a good analogy at the time. I'm going to leave it there and think about it. Well, maybe not. Granny's skirt, cameras, and perversion is not a good combo.
There are still a small few out there trying to do justice to their story and I hope it is those honest journalists who catch a big story and launch their careers. As for the others, may they vanish from the kingdom and be heard of no more. I know. You are thinking it sure would be quiet on the boob tube.
But you get it, right?
I think it's sad. Here we are spoon fed a bunch of garbage and no matter how much we deflect and try to mitigate it to find the truth, we all still absorb some of that garbage. Are we believing the right piece?