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The grandparent trap.

I never knew my mom’s mother she died before had the ability to speak. I guess she was incredibly depressed and her mental health professional never offered advice, just numbing drugs that created dependency. I guess that was all the rage back then, listen and sedate. My mom’s father died suddenly and mysteriously when I was 4 years old. I still remember my dad pulling my bother and I aside to tell us that Mom was really hurt and that we needed to be extra good for her. I had no understanding of why she was upset but the serious tone in his voice and look in his eye forced me to realize the importance of the moment. My mom feels that her father’s new wife poisoned him and since his death only makes sense as a murder, I am inclined to agree with her.

On my father’s side it’s even more confusing. The woman I always thought was my grandmother was actually my Grandfather’s second wife. I didn’t find this out until I was faced with having an entire branch of the family come into existence. I was always confused as to how I could be such a high percentage Irish and yet have a %100 Italian Grandmother. Turns out my biological grandmother did something to piss off my grandfather and he took my father and raised him with the belief that his mother was dead. It wasn’t until I was seven years old he learned his mother was alive and he had 6 brothers and sisters.

I really liked my biological grandmother. She lived in Vegas and had ton’s of gambling related earrings. When you imagine little old lady with big white hair chained to a slot machine by their club card and with a cigarette in one hand and a Manhattan in the other... You have a pretty good image of Grandma Ellen. For some reason she always called me by my brother’s name. She had too many grandkids already and Since I grew so fast she always assumed I was the older of the two new ones. She died of cancer in the early 90s. Not a big surprise with the cigarettes. She was one hot grandma, she turned down four or five marriage proposals during her last year.

My dad’s father has always been a very guarded man. I have never felt close to him. I believe he feels I have let him down. I have always felt this way. He babysat my brother and I for a week during my 1st grade year and he felt he could solve my dyslexia problem by showing me b or d and then getting mad at me for saying the wrong answer. I frustrated the hell out of him. He didn’t understand that I could not tell the difference between the two letters. Thank god he didn’t throw a p in there as well. He would have had a fit trying to understand how they could look the same to me.

I have quite a bit of respect for my grandfather, he has done some amazing things in his life which was not an easy one. He had to start working in a tire plant when he was 12. He has been through a lot of experiences that I would love to hear about. But he isn’t a very sharing man. I don’t remember him telling me stories of his childhood. No stories about how when he was a kid he had to walk to the movies in snow up hill both ways when he wanted entertainment. He’s always been more concerned with the present and future. There are so many questions I would love to ask him, but I know would not be welcome. I want to know what happened between him and Grandma Ellen, but I won’t dare say her name in front of him. He has made it very clear that it is not a subject in which he will participate. I would love to hear about when he worked aboard trains. My imagination makes it a fun daily adventure.

My Dad’s stepmother loves purple and doesn't want to be called grandma, it makes her feel old. So everyone calls her Mama Mia. Anytime she gets me alone fear creeps into me. I know it’s only a matter of time before she starts to ask. “When are you going to get married and have kids? You know it’s about time for you to settle down.” I’ve tried throwing my bother under the bus once, “Mike’s older he should go first!” Mama Mia was paying more attention than me, “he is married, he just hasn’t seen his wife in years. He needs to get divorced and then remarry!” I am out to everyone in my family except Grandpa and Mama Mia. I don’t feel they would accept it and everyone else agrees with me.

I don’t have that strong connection that I feel I should have. It’s especially noticeable being a part of Tom’s family where one family member can’t take a crap without four other members commenting on the smell. Maybe it’s because my living grandparents keep so much of themselves hidden and I’m a kettle of the loveliest shade of black.


The Only One I Know - Mark Ronson Feat. Robbie Williams - Version

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
ewe_2
Jul. 31st, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
How a bout that. They made a broadway show about your grandmother.

Momma Mia. LOL

:-)

D
sisyphus238
Jul. 31st, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
Perhaps you could tell her that you are a secular priest or just plain celibate, not that it matters. You've obviously managed well enough so far. Of course you could always play games with her and tell her that you've already been down that route "Don't you remember Mama Mia?", but that would be cruel and unusual.

fingertrouble
Aug. 1st, 2007 01:54 am (UTC)
I don’t have that strong connection that I feel I should have. It’s especially noticeable being a part of Tom’s family where one family member can’t take a crap without four other members commenting on the smell.

Oh yes this has been something I´ve had many a conversation with John and others about - however dysfunctional his family is, it can´t beat mine and they are much more closer, and together than my mum and dad, and extended family. My grandfather married again too, actually but no divorce my dad´s mother died of cancer quite young- in fact they both did, which is why I have upmost respect for my father and what he went through.

No I have almost no regard or connection to my mother at all, which others cannot understand, but due to her extreme decisions she made it that way. My family is elsewhere.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )