The human spirit  

Fallic40 53M
3214 posts
9/16/2005 7:27 pm
The human spirit

I wrote earlier today about the Grapes of Wrath and the "okies". To me this in not a term that should be construed as an insult. These were people who endured and overcame the depression by working their way west.

My ex-wife's grandparents were Okies and they were damn proud of it. To this day, I send Grandma flowers and cards. She is tough, resilient and independent.

My own grandparents were equally amazing people and I love the three I knew unreservedly and unashamedly. Just writing about them makes me tear up and tells me how much I miss them no longer being alongside me and in my life. My grandfather on my mum's side died of cancer (and according to my mum, WW2) when I was 3 so I never knew him. My mum said he doted on me and I used to sit in his hospital bed with him for hours.

My other grandfather lived to be 90 and he survived being a London fireman all through World War 2. He was blown up, burned up, and had houses fall on him and he went back for more. He was "old school" Glasgow: tough, independent, cantankerous and loving. He lost 15 brothers in the war.

His wife was from Belfast and was the only person who could control him. She had his dinner ready at 6 o'clock on the dot for 50 years and kept his house clean. She came across as a dotty Irishwoman and when she died we found out she had saved over $100,000 throughout her life from what was left over from the housekeeping money she got from my grandad.

My mum's mother was the most extraordinary person that I have ever been privileged to come across. She was a true cockney and was the life of any party. All of my life, she never had any money or remotely extravagant possessions - she was poor. Yet going to stay with her was an incredible treat: it meant a trip to the pub and singing along as she played the piano. To this day, a five dollar bill reminds me of her as this was her traditional birthday gift to me: even when I was in my 20s. It was symbolic. It was meant for me to have a drink on her.

Every year, there are four very special Christmas tree ornaments that go on my tree. Each one represents one of my grandparents and they are the first four ornaments on the tree as they get pride of place.

To me, this blog is so inadequate to really put into words what these four diverse people mean to me. The important thing is that they had amazing lives and that I can reflect that just a portion of them is in me. They were the greatest generation and I do not know if I can ever live up to them.

SunneyOne 43F

9/16/2005 8:04 pm

But you just have lived up to're amazing.

rm_jayR63 59F
1884 posts
9/17/2005 6:54 pm

Fifteen brothers?
Actual blood brothers?
That poor woman.

Fallic40 53M
1858 posts
9/17/2005 7:57 pm

My grandfather was one of 27 children. His father was what sould be called a "venerable Glaswegian". He smoked, he drank and he screwed and he lived to be 105. In total, he went through three wives - they probably died of exhaustion.

10 of the brothers were killed in the Pacific War - 2 were on the Bataan death march. 5 died in Europe. Also 2 older brothers were killed in WWI and 1 of the sisters was killed in an air raid. My grandad had very strong feelings about the war to the day he died.

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