The weekend I was in the suburbs, I was able to spend some time with my grandma. I don't often see her by myself, normally my mom is with me or my aunt or cousins are at the house. The plan was for me, mom, Ann, and the boys to go to the house. But then time got away from us and if I didn't go alone, chances were good that I wouldn't see Grandma at all. I must admit, I was a little intimidated about going by myself. What would we talk about? How long should I stay? Questions like these kept creeping in as I drove over to the house. I don't get to see my grandma very often, and having lived in Georgia most of my life, I don't always feel as close to her as I would want to be. But a lot of that is my fault for not taking the time when I was younger to really want to know her. When I lived out of state grandma always sent letters to me. You could always tell that she cared because she would cut articles out of newspapers that she thought you might like to read. I always loved getting letter from her. But I wasn't always great about writing back. And if I did, I was kind of selfish in my writing and did not ask a lot of questions of her. In the last several years, I have understood the importance of getting to know her. And now, it seems, every time I see her, I learn something about her that I didn't know before. Here are some facts I learned because I took time to listen and ask questions that I never thought to answer before.
1. My grandma didn't really want a wedding. It was my grandpa and his mother that wanted them to have a ceremony. And so they planned the whole thing. Grandma said she just went and bought a dress! I can't help but think that this was not typical in those days.
2. I always knew my grandma was from Missouri and Grandpa was from Chicago. But it never occurred to me to ask how they met. When it was time for Grandma to get a job, she said that she lived in a small town and it was impossible to find a job in her town. So, Grandma, one of her sisters, and one of her friends moved to Chicago to look for work. She said that back then you knew right away when you interviewed whether you got the job or not. No waiting for phone calls because they would hire you right after the interview. When they got to Chicago, they lived for a little while with a couple that had lived in their hometown but then they got an apartment together. It was through that couple that Grandma and Grandpa met.
3. When Grandma and Grandpa got married they lived for several years in the city in a three story house. They lived in on the 3rd floor. My great-grandpa and great-grandma lived on the first floor. And one of my grandpa's brother's and his wife lived on the second floor. Eventually, because my grandma didn't want to raise her kids in the city, they moved to the suburbs. She told Grandpa she never wanted to move again. And she has lived in the house since!
What a lesson it is for me to realize that when I slow down and listen, I learn so much about others. But I have to stop thinking the world revolves around me and set aside my own agenda in order to really listen!
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