Dear Grandparenting: When I was a child my grandfather bet me his five dollars against my five pennies that I could not name all four of my grandparents.
I took that bet and ripped off their family nicknames like Granny Morrison, Big Bert, etc. Then I held out my little hand thinking I would collect. But my grandfather said he wanted first and last names, with extra credit for middle names. At that point I knew I was dead in the water.
So I wonder how many of the grandchildren of your readership would be able to pass the test by naming their grandparents? I’ll bet not many know all four.
Now stop and think why this is important. How can grandchildren begin to know who they are and came to be without knowing the facts about their grandparents? Their family history has so much to do with how they were raised and the kind of people they are.
Grandparents are the keepers of this kind of knowledge. If we don’t make a point of getting family history across to the kids, who will? Pass it on! Art Burns, Wayne Heights, PA
Dear Art: Your point is well taken. Back when families routinely spent time together, ancestry was a common topic of discussion. And we suspect it remains so among newcomers to America and others with close ties to the old country.
But in more established Americanized families, knowledge gaps about forebears becomes more pronounced. Modern families are not the cohesive units of yesteryear, producing a kind of cultural amnesia that can rob grandchildren of their roots.
Your suggestion strikes us as a great project. Younger grandchildren can draw up a family tree and work in their grandparents to make sense of who’s who, maybe even hand it down to their children one day. You said it best. Pass it on!
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Nina Follini from Battle Creek, Michigan, reports that her “favorite sound” is the laughter of her young grandchildren. “But the silence when they finally fall asleep is a very close second!”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.