Same family, different grandparents?

NPJane is my youngest (and definitely cutest) “cuzzint” on the Fin side of the family. She was born when I was eight and I don’t think I have ever been snotty to her. I was old enough when she was born to understand that, as an infant, she needed love and attention and maybe protection, not teasing and snottiness, like my brother The Engineer and my cousin Jay (her sister) usually had to endure from me. Of course now Jane is an adult, albeit not quite as baggy and old as yer favo-rite blahgger.

Last night she stopped by The Landfill just long enough for a glass of whine and somehow we got off on the tangent of our grandparents. I think it started by reminiscing about their house (hope that link works, streetview was acting a little funky earlier). We both remember the closet that connected the front hall with the kitchen. It was used as a pantry and NPJane remembers walking through it. I maybe might have done that once. Otherwise, I remember you could enter it from the kitchen but either the door at the other end was blocked or we were discouraged from walking through it.

In general, I probably remember the house better than Jane does, mostly because it was, oh I dunno, 8-9 blocks away from my house up in Sault Ste. Siberia (Jane’s family lived here on the Planet Ann Arbor). We had many Sunday dinners (at noon, after church, thank you very much) over there and The Engineer and I often stayed there when The Commander and Grandroobly were out of town at “bank meetings” or other boondoggles. And we used to be forever driving a big ladder back and forth between our houses. The Commander would drive and my dad would hold the ladder outside the passenger-side window. Betcha you couldn’t get away with that these days… Anyway. I remember the pocket doors that led into the living room (double living room) and Grandma’s cart full of African violets and sliding down the carpeted stairs and some little game that I would play with the doorbell chimes behind the glass front door. The attic was verboten. That was where my grandmother’s eccentric younger sister resided. A mysterious place, as was the pass-through pantry.

The thing that we realized as we were talking was that I remember a different set of grandparents than Jane does. Because by the time Jane was born, the grandparents were getting quite elderly and I don’t think they were as interactive with Jane as they were with me and The Engineer. The grandparents I remember were active participants in my upbringing. We loved staying with them, not only because they would buy us just about anything we asked for at the grocery store or wherever but because we were comfortable with them. I’m kind of running out of words here but it was obvious that they cared about us very much. I am wracking my brain trying to remember them disciplining us. I imagine they had to, especially if I was tormenting my little brother. Mostly, I think we tried to be on our best behavior and, if they had to resort to discipline, they must have been very gentle with us, which is probably why I don’t remember it. Love.

As we were talking, I realized that some of my older cousins probably have yet a different set of grandparents than either Jane or I. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, my grandmother was not far off from my age now when she began having grandchildren. And that brings up all kinds of what-ifs in its own right although we won’t head off on that tangent.

By the way, the baby my grandmother is holding in that old scan is not either NPJane or yer favo-rite blahgger, it is none other than the mean old Mr. Grinch. Who is a few years older than me but has always been a cousin I’ve been particularly close to. It started when we had a fight over a package of smoked fish in the back of my dad’s (or granddaddy’s) car. I can’t remember which, I only remember that there was cigar smoke in the air. Oh, and Duke must’ve been involved because my dad did not like fish. I was three and the Grinchie was six. Go figger.

7 Responses to “Same family, different grandparents?”

  1. Jan Miller Says:

    We lived about 1/2 a block away on John Street, what fun! I could walk down and stay for dinner, help with cookies, watch her cut out patterns on the kitchen table. She taught me how to knit when I was older. She always made you feel that you were her favorite. I was staying there the day that Jim was born. I remember that well. Jan

  2. Margaret Says:

    My much younger brother doesn’t even remember our grandparents, except for my mom’s dad who died when he was 14. But he wasn’t the same grandpa(active and funny) that I knew because by then he was having heart issues and just didn’t feel good. Even my parents were in a different stage of life when he was born. Great memories. My parents have pocket doors in their kitchen. 🙂

  3. Kathy Farnell Says:

    I guess if you ask Scott, Sally, Sheila and Julia they would remember my parents (GG’s) in a different way than Liz and Mouse or even Susie and Steven. My first three kids were with Grandma and Grandpa as often as they were with Doug and I for the first several years of their lives. They would call me and ask if the children were busy for the weekend (say what?) and would I mind terribly if they just stopped by and picked them up for the weekend and took them to the cottage. Their own children didn’t want to go and they would be bored without some company. Of course I would not have been able to live with myself if I had known I had caused them to be bored. Funny, I was not invited and neither was Doug. I think that Julia had the same invitation – they took all 4 of them up to the old cottage and the kids had a great time and came home happy and content.
    Our parents were wonderful with the children but when they moved to Florida they did not see the children as often.

  4. Cooper Zale Says:

    Anne… another great piece… like all your cast of characters with their names. My grandparents were never that interesting… guess I might have met them too late in life. The stories my mom told me!

  5. kayak woman Says:

    I was thinking about Sally and Garth writing this. Kathy, I remember when they used to take your kids (and Julia and later on, Donny and Doug) up to Houghton Lake. Being 12th and 13th out of 19, with S&G living in Florida, of course Liz & Mouse didn’t get to know them as well. But I have a really nice memory of Liz at about two, getting a bottle out of the refrigerator at Houghton Lake and climbing up on Sally’s lap to drink it. No words were spoken. She knew what grandmothers were for 🙂

  6. Pooh Says:

    I remember my theory as a child was that the older you were, the nicer you were. As evidence, Grandma and Granddaddy were much nicer than my own parents, and my older cousins were nicer than me, and I’m afraid I felt that I was nicer than my younger sisters. Sorry, J & J, but it had to be that way to keep the theory consistent. 😉

  7. kayak woman Says:

    Also, I do think it’s sad when kids don’t get to know their grandparents or have grandparents that are ill or just not very nice people or whatever. I had good grandparents on both sides although on my mom’s side, Bolette was my grandfather’s second wife. My biological grandmother died in a car accident when The Commander was 15. We had to travel to Detroit to see Grandaddy and Bolette.

    Like Pooh, my older cousins (hmmm, same cousins) were nice to me. Mostly. When I wasn’t being an insufferable PEST! 😉

    Well, get to work, KW!!