View Full Version : What Kind Of Relationship Did You (Or Do You) Have With Your Grandparents?

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04-01-2012, 12:38 PM
I only knew my maternal grandparents.

Grandmother was ok most of the time. But she was also a manipulative shrew who could shred you to ribbons if she found you hard to manipulate/control. I still remember the most horrific barb she shot at me when I between 3 and 6 years old. She told me I was no better than that no good father of mine. My mom/dad divorced when I was three, so I know it was after that age. And, grandmother babysat me and my two older sisters when Mom was at work. Older two sisters weren't there, so they were at school. So I was either not in school yet, or in kindergarten on half days. Thus the breakoff of 6 years old in my estimate.

I remember how bad that stung, cause I also didn't know much about my dad. Only that he blew us off after the divorce, and I never saw him (or his side of the family) again. I also knew grandma had an intense hatred of him. What I remember most about that barb was not so much that I was worthless, but that I didn't remember my father enough to measure just exactly the level of worthlessness I was being compared to.

Maternal Grandfather was just "there." Or, not there more than likely. He and grandmother divorced when Mom was 12, and he remarried. They lived in CA, so never saw them much. NewWife was rich, and they loved to rub it in our faces. So didn't really care if we saw them much. He was kinda like my dad in some respects. The only use he seemed to have for my Mom was just after the divorce, and she'd get shuttled from one household to the other, then interregated in each household on what was going on in the other one.

Paternal Grandparents, as I just mentioned I never got to know. It used to make me wonder how they could just walk away from a grand child and not give a damn. Years later, when I was in my late 40's, I connected with a cousin from his side of the family. It turns out that "Nana" thought about me all the time. Cousin said on each of my birthdays, she'd say how old I was at the time. So it was really just my father who cut us off and kept us from them too. It was a shame I never got to know either of my paternal grandparents. They both passed in the 70's, long before I ever conncted with cousin (dad passed too in early 2000's). Cousin said they were both really good people. Dad was just the jerk of the family.

04-01-2012, 02:00 PM
My paternal grandfather died with I was 5, but my memories of him are fond ones. He was quiet and was always reading a newspaper, but he was very kind. I learned later on in life that he was a raging alcoholic, albiet a blissfully content drunk. I never saw that side of him at my young age. He just always seemed like a content guy. My paternal grandmother lived for quite a few more years and died when I was in my early 20s. She overpowered my grandfather and was very much in the forefront. She had a hilarious sense of humour and I really enjoyed our time together, although I really only saw her on family holidays. She lived relatively independently well into her 90's before she had to live in an assisted living community because her memory went downhill and she needed some help. But she went to church every day and was a professional funeral observer. Seriously, she would just attend any function at church, mainly funerals, and routinely crashed the post-funeral gatherings. I suppose if I'm honest with myself, I'd say she was a real busybody. She just loved meeting people and learning about their life stories. She was fondly regarded in her South Boston community. Everyone knew her, and she knew everyone that lived or lived in that neighborhood during her lifetime. Her neighborhood eventually turned a bit into what would be regarded as a "bad" part of town due to gang conflicts. But the gangs not only left her alone, they often protected her and helped her with her groceries. She felt perfectly safe walking the streets of South Boston. She was forever making comments like, "That's little Joey So-and-so. He's runs with the Crips". LOL!

My maternal grandfather died when I was 7, but he lived right down the street from me, so I was over their house all the time. I adored him! He was a big italian guy that loved to sing songs throughout the house. He was a barber and I used to love swinging around in his barber chair. I always begged him to cut my hair, which of course he didn't. I was very jealous of my 3 brothers that got haircuts from him. He always smelled of cigars, which I recall fondly in terms of sense memory, but realize his smoking is what ultimately killed him. In my family, Sunday dinner means the entire family comes together for a meal (we still have that tradition today). So he was a big presence in my young life. When he died, my maternal grandmother moved in with us. So I was basically raised with a grandmother in the household. That came with some pros and cons, but mostly pros. I was in college when she passed. I'd say we were very close. She was an irritant to my dad to be sure. ,But from my perspective she was just another mother figure in the house that made really excellent Italian food.

04-01-2012, 02:36 PM
I met all of my grandparents. As a kid every summer, my mom, sis and I would go out to their farm for almost the entire summer vacation. I was definitely closer with my grandpa. He would take me out on the tractor or I would help him feed the pigs/ cows.
I gave my son his name for one of his middle names. He passed away when I was 24.

My mom's mom is still alive and doing pretty well. I talk to her the odd time but I haven't seen her for a few years. She is in her late 80's now.

We use to visit my dad's parents every other Sunday. I was closer to my grandpa there too but he passed away when I was 11. We used to get together with my grandma more for holidays after my grandpa passed. She passed away when I was 22.

My kids see my husband's mom every other Sunday. Before my dad passed away they saw him ALL the time. It was nothing to bring them over to see him. He also helped us by watching the kids if we went out for the evening to a movie or dinner.

They used to see my mom all the time too before she moved out to live closer to her mom. It hit my oldest son really hard when she moved.

They see my husband's dad the odd time. They recently just moved down the street from us so I am hoping they will get to see them more often. Christmas was crazy because we used to have 4 get togethers. I missed it this year with dad being gone.

Family is so important to my husband and I. He never really got to know his dad's parents because they lived out in BC.

04-01-2012, 02:36 PM
My maternal grandfather died when my mother was a baby, but I knew the other three grandparents. Maternal grandmother lived only about an hour away, so I saw her several times a year, but usually just Sunday afternoon visits, nothing extended. I wouldn't say we had a close relationship, but I knew she loved me. Like someone said earlier in this thread, I wish I had asked more questions because she had an interesting life and did many things that were uncommon for women of her day. She was born in 1874 so was already quite old even when I was a kid. She lived to be 92. My father's parents lived several hours away, but we spent a week with them every summer. They were already in their 80's by the time I can remember them. Again, I wish I knew more about their lives. They lived through a lot, but when you're a kid you just don't think about such things. To sum up, I had a good relationship with all three grandparents but wasn't really close to any of them. I loved them and have no bad memories, just a few regrets.

04-01-2012, 04:03 PM
I am 29 and all of my grandparents are still alive. I am lucky but my parents were also young when they had me so that helped.

04-01-2012, 05:36 PM
Maternal grandfather died before I was born. Grandmother remarried when I was about 4 or 5 and that's the grandfather I knew growing up. They've been gone for a few years and I miss them both so much. Both helped raise me and had contributed much of their time to me.

Paternal grandfather died when I was 12. I do remember him, of course but he was such a workaholic, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with him. The memories I do have of him are happy though. Paternal grandmother is still alive but we'd never been close although during summers I did spend a few fun weeks at their place when I was little. I was given a lot more freedom there, was allowed to wonder around town and even into the woods. It was fun although I am not convinced it was wise. It was quite the Little Red Riding Hood situation, luckily minus the wolf this time. :P

04-01-2012, 06:19 PM
I had a good relationship with my paternal grandmother. Both of my maternal grandmother died in 2003 from lung cancer and my paternal grandmother died in 2004 from pancreatic cancer. Both were in the their 70s and I feel fortunate that I had my grandmothers while growing up and well into my adulthood.

I had a incredible relationship with my maternal grandmother, she was my first best friend :)

My mom had me at the age of 19, while attending college and she was single. My grandmother helped my mom alot with caregiving while she was in school. I saw my grandmother at a minimum of one day a week. When I young before I could read, I would call her on Saturday morning and she will read the "tv guide" to me and tell me what channel the cartoons were on. We had similar interests and personalities. We both loved sports.

I learned what is was to be a strong woman, to be christian and how to be tolerant of others. She walked the walk and she was so fun loving.

04-01-2012, 07:03 PM
I'm sorry, too, PeterG, that you never got to have a good relationship with at least one grandparent. Grandparents play such a special role in our lives. I saw my grandparents only once or twice a year after age 5 due to living on the West Coast when they were all on the East Coast. We saw all of them usually each summer, as they all summered in the town where my parents had met. (They did sometimes fly out to see us, but my maternal grandpa in particular wasn't very healthy so travel wasn't as feasible.)

I had three grandmas & two grandfathers when growing up (my dad's parents had both divorced & remarried & Granny S. was widowed before I was born) and have one GREAT memory of one great-grandma (GG) involving picking dandelions in the lawn of her old folks home. (She offered my sisters and I all a penny or something for each dandelion and did NOT expect us to pick so many! borrowed $ from her buddies to pay us :))

My mom's parents were both chain smokers and alcoholics and, well, not very pleasant people to be around. They were just kind of sour, and I feel fortunate that my mom's sister & brothers (and my various cousins) turned out as well as they did with such dysfunctional parents. Both died when I was in high school.

My dad's stepmom is still alive and a joy at 95ish. Full of life and zest and strong opinions :) I still see her every year or so (still separated by many miles). And my dad's dad (died when I was in HS) was sometimes scary--fairly authoritative and had a temper like my dad, but TONS of fun a lot of the time.

My dad's mom was a very typical Grandma who would bake cookies with you and had a sweet dog for a companion. When I went to college she was only a few hours' drive away so she would typically drive up one or two weekends a year for a visit, lots of meals out, walks in the country, attending whatever was going on on campus. It was wonderful to have that time with her in my early adulthood, especially as three of my other four grandparents were gone by then, and I bawled when I found out she died.

04-01-2012, 09:13 PM
I never knew my grandparents. At age 10, my father had lost both his parents. At age 8, my mother had lost both her parents. I didn't even know what grandparents were like until my sister (and later my brother) had kids and I saw how much love the kids got from their grandparents, that is from my parents.

04-01-2012, 09:25 PM
My father's mother died shortly after giving birth to her 9th child, so I never met her.

Our family dynamics were influenced by my parent's "mixed" marriage. She was from the wealthier side of town and he was working class poor. At the first opportunity, my mother got my father to move to Connecticut where the jobs were plentiful and pay was much better than New Hampshire.

My maternal grandfather was smart and kind. We lost him when I was 7. My maternal grandmother was bossy, really bossy, and I never bonded with her.

We visited my paternal grandfather from time to time. My French was close to non-existent and he didn't have much use for anyone who didn't speak it, so we didn't have a relationship at all.

04-01-2012, 10:11 PM
Three of my grandparents died while I was relatively young within a one year span of each other. I remember my grandmother well and have great memories of her and her wonderful way of being the life of the party. My grandfathers are harder for me to remember. My mother's father worked up until he became ill with a brain tumor. After that he wasn't really himself any longer. My father's father was a short and funny man, but he was always on the go. You couldn't tie him down. Even in the dead of winter he wanted to be moving and going.

I wish I had had more time with all of them.

My father's mother passed away when I was 20. She suffered from severe dementia and was not well for most of the time that I knew her. Since she had 14 children, 13 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren, I'm not sure that I could call our relationship special. She was just a woman I remember living with us for a while and seeing on some occasions.

Now I was lucky enough to know my great-grandmother. She was a fantastically awesome woman. In addition to raising my grandmother and two other children, she ran two businesses with my great-grandfather and built a small fortune out of the lumber and hotel businesses. She passed away recently and I still miss her.

04-01-2012, 10:49 PM
My grandparents were elderly when I was a young child, so they were all gone by the time I was a teen. I would have loved to hear about life in the late 19th and early 20th century from them, but alas, it was not to be.

I talk about it with my aunt, who is 90, now. My parents were difficult to draw out on the subject. I find discussing family history futile, everyone in my family has a different version!

04-02-2012, 01:02 AM
When I was born, my maternal grandfather was 77, and my great grandmother (mother of of my maternal grandmother) was 89.
I remembering going to my great aunts house where Bammy (great gmother) lived. She was always in this one chair by the window and would just nod at you. She died when I was 5, don't remember taking much with her, but I was shy around adults. I have one picture of her, and it is the chair by the window, exactly how I saw her.

My grandfather was still working - part time at a movie theatre. I remember when I was aobut 7 or so, he let my brothers I in to see Oliver (appr 1968) and he gave each of us a $1 for the concesstion stand. I was very sick that night. But always with my nephews, the rule is at the movies, you can get popcorn, soda and candy (I watch the quantity). He also would slip you quarters. His legs were not the best, so when he was at our house, was sitting. Not physically interactive but seems like he always talked to each of us. Cigar smells to this day remind me of him. When I was about 10, he moved from CT to CA to live with my aunt and never saw him again. He died at 94, when I was in high school.

My dad grew up with alcoholic father, and sounds like his mother was not that nice. My father always told us fun stories about his childhood, nothing bad. My mother ended up nursing my fathers mother when she was dying. I asked my mother if she had anything nice to say about her mother in law, it took her a while and finally said, she left us the house.

But I always wished I knew my mother's mother. She was short and cute and sounds like the ultimate grandma, baking and hugging. My mom was a great mom, very maternal and from what relatives say, my grandmother was great. She died when my mother was 21 and it wasn't until I was 27 and lost my mother, I realized what a big hole my mother had after her mother died.

04-02-2012, 03:13 AM
My paternal grandparents were from Lebanon. They married (arranged) when my grandmother was 15 & my grandfather was almost 30. He immigrated to the US 1st, then sent for her. She came steerage (about 1905) with a 9mo old, all alone, barely 17. She was a very strong woman who endured many hardships. My grandfather died when my dad was 8 & my grandmother remarried when he was 13. My step-granddad was great...he had never been married before so he became a husband & a father of 7 at age 41. He was a saint & we all adored him. They lived in Iowa so I didn't see them much. I was kind of scared of my grandmother because she seemed so stern but I realized when I grew up that she loved us...just didn't know how to show it. She died when I was in high school.

I saw a lot of my maternal grandparents growing up esp after my dad retired from the military after my senior year in high school. They lived in Lawton Ok, about 45 miles from us, & they had a little house on a double lot. The 2nd lot was all garden. My grandfather had been a farmer. I used to pick vegetables for him. My grandparents had 7 kids who survived childhood, and 38 grandkids. All my cousins have great memories of them...we all felt like we got undivided attention from them. My grandfather died when I was in college & my grandmother died when I was about 22. I still miss her.

04-02-2012, 04:12 AM
My dad's parents raised us because my parents worked long hours. My mom's parents lived in Europe but we stayed with them for 2 months every summer vacation. Then they moved to Canada to live with us .. we must've been the only house in town with 2 granny suites!!! lol

I was lucky enough to have all four grandparents till I was 46-47 yrs old. So many wonderful memories. Fabulous home cooked meals, grandmothers who taught me to sew and knit and raise vegetables .. and how to fish for eels and octopus! Grandfathers who knew how to give you their undivided attention and love, with all the time in the world to listen and advise and laugh, and the BEST hugs.

We miss them all terribly, but have so many great memories to talk about and pass on to our kids.