Several years ago shortly after the death of my DYS I met my daughter and her small baby for coffee. As I was feeling particularly miserable she bought me a little book called 365 Reflections on Grandmothers. Looking through this book today I came across:
“When grandma was a girl she didn’t do things the girls do today
But then the grandmas didn’t do things grandmas do today.”
Isn’t that true? My grandmother was always a little old lady, in a long dress. Always smiling and always pleased to see us but concerned only with her family and its wellbeing. Not for her involvement in work outside the home – did she ever go out to work once she was married. I guess not. It most certainly wasn’t done nor was it expected all those years ago.
Instead she concentrated on making her home as pleasant and as welcoming as possible.
She was born at the end of the 19th century in a fairly poor area of London. I suspect that life for her and her young husband and family was not easy. It was more complicated as she had married a Jewish boy who had then been cast out of his family. I know little about my grandfather’s family but do know that he was a caring and gentle man.
Contrast this with my life. How lucky I am to live now and those of us who are grandmothers are able to do so much more than our grandmothers. Look at what is now available to us. No longer are we just ‘housewives, mothers and grandmothers’. The whole world is out there for us and we can choose to be as involved as we wish. Some grandmothers I know are involved in politics, local and government, some hold high powered jobs in what was once a man’s world.
So while I loved my grandmother and all she represented and presented to me, I am glad I am living now rather than in the early part of the 20th century. And though she was born and lived before my grandmother, I like this quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe:
“These remarkable women of olden times are like the ancient painted glass – the art of making them is lost; my mother was less than her mother, and I am less than my mother.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811-1896, abolitionist and author.
- On becoming a Grandma, again. (reneespindle.wordpress.com)