Grandparents are Wasted on the Young

 Me with John and Winona Bowers (grandparents) at the front door of one of my childhood homes in Houston. Circa 1976.I remember a snit one summer in my early days. Upset about something, I had stormed upstairs to my room. My grandfather, John (called “Jay”), stood at the foot of the stairs and called up in frustration,“Would you rather we leave?”

I remember a tete-a-tete lunch at my Grandma Gladys’s favorite Houston restaurant, Clementine’s, when I learned she had broken off an engagement before she met my grandfather, George (called “Dode”). A little curtain pull to hint at an entire life she'd led that I knew nothing about! I wanted to know more, but didn't know what to ask.

  Gladys Farnsworth (grandmother) waiting for Christmas brunch in Denver, Colorado. December 25, 1997.

                                John and Winona Bowers (grandparents) waiting for lunch in Indianapolis, Indiana. May 10, 1997.

Grandchildren miss out.

Grandparents are wasted on the young.

Children’s worlds revolve around themselves. Parents and grandparents don’t have histories or sadnesses or worthwhile perspectives. They exist to serve the child—at least, so the child feels.

Today, I wonder about my grandparents’ childhoods, adolescences, and the reasons for things that happened. I wonder what they thought about world and life events. I wonder what they would think about where their descendants have gone and what they have done.

Note: I’m not telling a tale of missed opportunities or asking while you can (although you should). During my grandparents’ lives, I hadn’t yet reached the stage when I would have known what to ask or how to appreciate their answers.

And they may not have told a youth the truth, anyway.

All our histories, which we cannot know!  

My mother holding my brother, me hoisting a squirrel (?), Bill Revis (great-grandfather), Hazel Revis (great-grandmother), Winona Bowers (grandmother), and John Bowers (grandfather) in front of my main Houston childhood home. Circa 1979.