Friday, June 11, 2010

Flashback Friday - Extended Family Memories

Tell about any grandparents, cousins, or other extended family that was special to you growing up. Did they live near you or some distance away? Do you have any particular childhood memories (good OR bad!) of times spent with your grandparents? With your cousins? Did you spend holidays with them? At whose house did you generally gather? Do you still keep up with cousins, aunts & uncles, etc.? Did your paternal relatives and maternal relatives know and get along with each other?
Remember, the questions are just to spur your memories; you don't have to specifically address them, although you are welcome to!

We lived about 4-5 hours from both sets of grandparents. We probably saw them 3 or 4 times a year - at Christmas, Easter, and a couple of other miscellaneous weekends. The paternal and maternal grandparents lived less than 2 hours from each other, so it was easy to see both on a long weekend. Most of the aunts and uncles lived in the same town or within an hour of the grandparents, so we would frequently see the whole clan when we visited. I have great memories of the food at the get-togethers on my dad's side of the family - home cooking at its best and lots of it!

My grandparents were pretty opposite. My dad's folks lived in the country and were poor. My granddad was a sharecropper. My siblings have great memories of going to visit them in the country, and my brother spent a week in the summer a time or two. But my granddad died when I was two and my grandmother moved into town. Looking back I realize she lived in a subsidized apartment complex, but that had no meaning for me as a child. It was a tiny one-bedroom apartment. My siblings would stay with cousins, my parents would sleep on my grandmother's "hideaway" couch bed, and I slept with her. That's a sweet memory. She called me her "bedfellow." I can visualize that place as if it were yesterday - including the sheer curtain at the end of the hall over the linen shelves. My cousin and I would play Bride with that curtain, standing behind it and walking up the "aisle" until we outwalked the length of the "veil".

If you looked up "grandmother" in the dictionary, I'm sure her picture would be there. She was loving and sweet, made great food, and loved to play games. We played a lot of Crazy Eight, Canasta, and Scrabble. We all adored her and she loved us. I was ten when she had to move into a nursing home, but we would go visit her there. For years they would bring her in her wheelchair to the big family get-togethers until she was unable to do that. She died when I was 23. I think she was 94.

My other grandparents had a big house; it was actually two houses that had been combined. That granddad was a lawyer. He died of a stroke when I was 11. Sadly, I don't have happy memories of those. My maternal grandmother was the polar opposite of my other one, at least to our family. Besides favoring the other cousins, she could be pretty harsh, manipulative and rude. After my granddad died, my mom went to spend a week with her during the summer for about 5 years. I went with her twice, but after the second one, when my grandmother was pretty awful to me, I told my mother I didn't ever want to go back, and after that she timed her visits when I was at church camp. That grandmother died just after I graduated from college when I was on a ski trip. I am forever grateful to my parents for waiting to tell me until I got back so I wouldn't feel obligated to cut my trip short.

All the cousins on that side of the family were either older or a good bit younger. On my dad's side of the family, we were "stairstepped". There was a set of cousins that was the age of my siblings, and then a set around my age. We hung out together whenever my family went to visit those relatives, but we don't have much in common. I remember they would go ride around the town square for fun in their little town and being from Houston, I thought that was totally boring. I actually am closer to one of the cousins that is my brother's age, although we only see each other at funerals now.

What about you? Post your memories and link up here!


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Jim said...

Hi Linda, this is a great meme mostly about your grandparents.
Our children range in ages from 37 to 53. My parents would relate to your grandparents, especially the poor one who lived on the farm. Dad sharecropped in Nebraska for years. When 'Landlord' Grandpa died my dad inherited the this small farm. My sister and I sold it two years ago.
BTW, I live in the Houston, Texas, area. Montgomery is our retirement home. Before that we lived in Friendswood for 23 years. I came to Houston in 1964.
I worked at NASA for 15 years. After that I taught at San Jacinto College in Pasadena.
We are members at First Baptist Church at Conroe. Both Mrs. Jim and I are fairly active there. :)

Nel said...

Thanks for hosting this meme. I enjoy thinking over memories. We will be on the road this weekend so unfortunately I will not be able to reply on anyones until I read them next week. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
until next time... nel

Diana said...

Enjoyed reading your flashback.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

How interesting at how different your grandparent were!

I know you are thankful to have good memories of a grandma! Mt sweet grandma was such a blessing to my life!

Being a grandmother myself now I just don't understand those who don't want a relationship with their grandchildren. It just makes you wonder what happen to them in their life to build that disconnect where there heart is?

Great prompt this week, but any time I get to remember my grandma is a good thing!


Barbara H. said...

This was a fun one to think back on (Though, actually, they all are!) I love the memories with the "veil!"

Kim said...

Very cool, Linda! I lived within minutes of both sets of grandparents. Actually, I only had a grandmother on my mom's side, but she lived with an aunt and uncle. I remember Sunday afternoon all six of us getting on bikes and biking first to one grandparent's house then the other. It took all afternoon.

I have a huge extended family, and the reunion for my mom's side of the family is still and always has been the third Sunday in August. At one point it was not unusual to have upwards of 200 people because my mom was one of 13 kids!!

My Dad's side of the family - VERY MUCH the musical group! We still sing for hours every Christmas!! And my grandparents are long gone but the extended family continues the traditions they began.

I am RICH, RICH, RICH in family Linda! I thank God for those blessing every day!!!

JHS. said...

We had similar experiences. One set of grandparents were very loving, but extremely old & lived 2000 miles away. The ones in town were horrid. In fact, I told everyone my grandparents were dead . . . and then my grandmother's obituary was in the local paper and I had to confess that I just had no relationship with her because she was a heinous troll. True story!

BTW, stop by and sign up to win a copy of "This One is Mine" by Maria Semple. Entries close midnight (Pacific time), June 15!


Beth said...

My paternal grandparents were in the ministry in little towns in Iowa until their kids became college age. They then moved to IL where they worked for the college so their kids could get tuition paid for. We lived 2.5 hours from them, and they still lived in the college area when I went to school. They weren't lovey dovey grandparents like my folks are to my kids, but they prayed for each child, grandchild and greatgrandchild daily. I MISS knowing that I was prayed for daily, now that they are gone. We, too have a family reunion yearly--in IL, so now that we live in TX it is hard to get there every year.

My mom's parents were divorced when she was 2. He was a coal miner in VA. We didn't see them too much. My mom's mom moved to IL and I do remember her the most. She had a hard life. I have many cousins on this side--but with my mom's 5 siblings, 4 step brothers and a half sister, I don't know too many of the cousins! I wish we were closer.

Susan said...

I love reading about grandparents! Mine were opposites too, but I loved them both dearly and I miss them now that they're gone. Thanks for sharing your memories!

bp said...

Thanks for sharing about your grandparents. Such sweet memories!

Hope you have a lovely weekend.


Beth said...

I enjoyed this little jaunt down memory lane (mine and yours). Thanks for hosting!

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

These F.F.'s are fun, Linda! I hope I'll remember to participate this coming Friday. :)

sanjeet said...

Enjoyed reading your flashback.
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