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This is a question Grandparents

My awesome grandad flew in Wellingtons in the war. Damn, those shortages were terrible. Tell us about brilliant-stroke-rubbish grandparents.

Suggested by Buffet the Appetite Slayer

(, Thu 2 Jun 2011, 21:51)
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My Gran = Awesome. This post contains many words.
I wrote this eulogy for my Gran almost exactly a year ago.

"My earliest memory of my gran is of my dad warning us to watch her on the roads and make sure she crossed them properly. I used to think this was his sneaky way of making sure me and my brother remembered to use the Green Cross Code, but after many years of having to stop her striding out in to the middle of the roads amidst heavy traffic, listening to her constant refrain of ‘I’ll cause more damage to that car than it’ll cause to me’, I’m not so sure.

Gran was the most independent, headstrong, stubborn, exasperating and bloody-minded women I have ever known. She was also one of the kindest. She never backed down from an argument, or confrontation. She wasn’t impressed by wealth, social status or job-titles, and I have seen her give many a jumped-up jobsworthsuch a telling-off, that they would silently contemplate a change in career or early retirement rather than run the risk of having to deal with her again. There are people who work for Manchester City Council who visibly pale (and occasionally curl into the foetal position and weep) at the very mention of her name. Rightly so – she was a formidable woman.

If I was to stand here and talk about her many and varied encounters with people in authority, I’d be here all week. Probably all year. So I shall keep it brief.

When I was ten years old, and she took me and my brother to our first proper demonstration. It was the first time I’d really heard my Gran swear, and it was in connection with what she’d like to do with the Poll Tax and Maggie Thatcher. She marched all day, and her anger was truly genuine. I think that tells you all you need to know about my Gran and where she stood.

It wasn’t always politics that roused her bolshy streak though. Litter was another of her pet hates, especially when it was outside her block of flats, spoiling the view from her balcony. I remember my Uncle Jeff complaining one evening about the fact that his security officers had been pulled off their normal duties to clear the litter around the Barclay’s Bank building where they worked. ‘Some woman came in complaining’ apparently, saying she was going to write a letter to head office unless something was done about the rubbish dumped in the shrubs.

As my Uncle waxed lyrical about mithering old ladies, it slowly dawned on my dad who had made the complaint. Head in hands, he confessed that the woman was indeed my Gran. I don’t know who was more mortified – my Uncle for possibly causing terrible offence by complaining about Gran, or my dad for the fact that myGran had read the riot act in her own inimitable style! It worked though. The rubbish was cleared, the security officers got some fresh air, and my gran’s view was once more unspoiled.

My gran never gave up on a cause she believed in and she never ‘put up and shut up’ for an easy life. It wasn’t in her nature. She never cared what people thought of her, she just did what she felt was the right thing to do. She would fight battles for those unable to fight for themselves, and she never turned her back on a situation she knew to be unfair.

She was a single mother who worked hard all her life to provide for her children. She was passionate about politics and the rights of the working class, and never let anyone make her ashamed of who she is and where she is from.

I love her to bits.

She’s given me four very important bits of advice: -

1) Always earn enough to pay your own rent, even if your husband or partner is paying it for you - you never know when you will need to be independent.

2) Never let any man talk down to you. Ever. They’ll never earn the right to make you feel stupid.

3) Love as much as is humanly possible, with no guilt, no shame, and no regrets. She taught me that I should be with someone because I wanted to be there, not because someone forced me into it, and that to deny myself love because I was ashamed, or worried about what people would think was stupid.

4) People in power only hold that power because you allow them to. If they abuse that power, you can take it away from them. This applies to relationships, employers, landlords, councils and the Government.

She would walk for miles to find the perfect spot for a picnic. If she heard of a good park, she’d not rest until she took us – and even at 65 years old, she always beat us to the swings. She blatantly cheated when pulling crackers at Christmas, and if you did manage to win, she had absolutely no shame in pinching your prize. She was sneaky too, and had sharp elbows if it looked like you might put up a fight.

In short, my Gran was awesome.

She was my playmate, my conspirator, my confidante but most of all, she was my best friend. To put those words in the past tense is more painful than I can say.

I will miss her.
(, Sun 5 Jun 2011, 23:10, closed)
This is the lady in question, wearing a rather splendid hat.

(, Sun 5 Jun 2011, 23:17, closed)
That just brought tears to my eyes.
I salute a beer to your gran.
(, Mon 6 Jun 2011, 1:42, closed)
I just properly cried
Sounds like a wonderful woman. We need more of them in the world.
(, Mon 6 Jun 2011, 18:47, closed)
Beautiful! I am holding back tears!

(, Tue 7 Jun 2011, 12:09, closed)

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