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The Gallery – Grandparents

The theme for the Gallery over on the Sticky Fingers blog this week is Grandparents.

This is Charlotte.

There is one Grandad in my house and he is my Dad. This is his grandmother and this picture is a photograph of a photograph which explains the poor image. However, I wanted to reflect on just how important grandparents are in this post. My Dad is 83 years of age and still has a picture of his Grandma where he can see it every day.

Charlotte was quite a fascinating woman. She was born on a barge and was the eldest child of many. She married Benjamin and had several children. In her forties she had a stroke and was left bedbound, paralysed and with limited speech. She lived into her nineties. Benjamin, presumably unable to cope and depressed, was committed to a lunatic asylum.

By the time she became a grandma to my Dad, Charlotte was living with and being cared for by my grandmother Harriet. Dad points out how he would be asked to leave the front room when she went on the commode. When television came along, she used to ask her daughter to cover it up when she was having a wee as she did not want the newscaster or whatever watching her.

I don’t imagine Harriet ever referred to herself as a carer or my Dad as a young carer. They just got on with life as it was looking after their family.

Dad remembers visiting his Grandfather Benjamin in the asylum and insists he was as sane as anyone. He died in the asylum years later.

Dad eventually brought my Mum home and she and Charlotte got on really well. Mum says she could not understand a word Charlotte said though. However, my brothers who knew Charlotte as their Great Grandma remember her with affection and could always work out what she was trying to say having known her since birth.

I think of Charlotte and Harriet, both relatives that I never knew. Strong women, real women.

They confronted various things which real mums today are facing too.

Poverty

Relocation

Mental Health Issues

Disability and Illness

Caring

Parenting

Wars

They had various roles in life but one of the most important was to be grandparents.

Dad adores Charlotte to this day, speaking of her with huge affection.

My brothers loved Harriet in a similar way.

My other Grandma who died before I was born was called Sally Ann. Some of the issues she faced in life included.

Alcoholic Mother

Alcoholic Husband

Domestic Violence

Abject Poverty

Racial and Religious Discrimination

My brothers loved her too.

They say you don’t miss what you never had and my grandmothers did not play a part in my life. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge them as real and strong women who got on with things even when times were very tough indeed.

Finally, for completeness, there are my birth grandparents who did not know I existed although their lives and mine overlapped. So I do not know their story and they do not know mine.

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About mumsarcade

Mother to three children Reviewer of products that make mums' lives easier or more fun

Discussion

7 thoughts on “The Gallery – Grandparents

  1. They sound like amazing women, really touching tribute to them. Nat

    Posted by this is us | July 6, 2011, 1:02 pm
  2. This is a beautiful picture and a great post if not sad post to go with it. Hugs x

    Posted by susankmann | July 6, 2011, 1:48 pm
  3. It is amazing what they used to put up with and they just got on with it back then.
    A lovely, touching post x x

    Posted by Sarah @Sarh | July 6, 2011, 3:48 pm
  4. A very moving and inspiring post. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Posted by Funky Wellies | July 6, 2011, 7:44 pm
  5. Incredible post. I always love when people have passed on so much information about relatives. I know very little about even my own grandparents because we just don’t have that kind of relationship where we share information. It’s great that you know some of your history.

    Posted by actuallymummy | July 7, 2011, 8:56 am
  6. What an inspiring post – to hear of Benjamin and Charlotte and the difficult lives they and their carers lead and yet to realise how much affection your family had for them, well I’m honoured to be able to read about them. Thank you.

    Posted by Trish @ Mum's Gone to | July 7, 2011, 4:10 pm
  7. A real glimpse into the past, very interesting post and amazing what these people just put up with and got on with – how life was different…

    Posted by richmondmummy | July 10, 2011, 5:17 am

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