Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Big Impression

If you’re going to have a superhero in your life, it can prove to be really handy if you're both on the same wavelength. But I’m not talking about the muscle-bound alter egos of Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne. I’m making reference to those senior family members who buck the trend and narrow the distance between the generations...yes, extraordinary Grandparents!

To me, my maternal Grandparents were extraordinary, without wearing their underpants over their tights, at least not intentionally. My Grandfather was an uncomplicated man who made a big impression on me. Once, at a country show, he made a particularly big impression by hammering home a six inch nail with three blows. His reward, a prize of sixpence. Imagine the little me, walking about with my chest puffed, wearing an expression that read, ‘that's my Grandad, that is’.


My Grandmother wouldn't be outdone. She not only possessed the capacity to confound and alarm, she could also make her mark with insatiable curiosity and unbending determination. Although coming to IT extremely late in life, she got 'stuck in' with great enthusiasm, demonstrating a quick grasp of mouse and keyboard. She continued to surprise us all until her eyesight failed at around the age of 90. But she had enjoyed a lifetime of producing horticultural wonders, with the aid of her green fingers, and was also a published author of many articles on life in the countryside.

Recently, in the news, my attention was drawn to two more senior family members, neither one connected to me in any way, but they’ll be someone’s superheroes, no doubt. The first, 62 year-old Paul Marshallsea, who wrestled with a 6ft shark as it headed for children playing at the edge of the sea. And secondly, Hilda Knott, a gamer of these past forty years, still rising to the challenge of solving puzzles, having adventures and polishing off the baddies, as she approaches her 85th birthday.

Which of your senior family members made a big impression on you?
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15 comments:

  1. My paternal great great grandmother, recently discovered. In 1865 aged 24 she left her presumably abusive husband and two daughters and the grave of her first child, crossed the country and set up with my great great grandfather. She never married him but bore him 9 children. True courage.

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  2. Marianne, your great great grandmother was quite a woman. To have done this in 1965 would have been tough, but 100 years earlier? Little wonder you hold her in such high regard. True courage, indeed!

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  3. My dad left a great impression on me with his slipper from time to time. Did I deserve it? Ah, that would be telling.

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    1. Yes, Kid, impressions come in all shapes and sizes, don't they?

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  4. I seem to have a somewhat unfortunate record in the grandparent department. All my grandparents were dead before I was old enough to know them and even my own parents were well into their 80s when The Lad was born. Hopefully I can correct matters and I constantly encourage the Lad to settle down and think about a family. the other day we were looking at my one, unopened, bottle of really good, really old, single malt. "When will you open that?", he asked. "When you give me my first grandchild", I replied. I could see him giving it serious consideration. Here's hoping.

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    1. Ah, the old really good, really old, single malt ploy eh? My fingers are well and truly crossed for you, Alan.

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  5. Ah yes, and having known those special kind of superheroes in our life time- turns us in ones as well!

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    1. Karen, yes, it's always nice to think that some of the magic has rubbed off.

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  6. A lovely image of little Martin walking round all proud of his grandad :-)

    I was a bit lacking in the grandparent department with just one grandad and one great grandad. My grandad smuggled me indoors once, hidden by his side because our neighbour was waiting for me at her front door to tell me off. I'd been ginger knocking. He also let me swim in my knickers when we couldn't find my swimming costume - and got into trouble with my mum. And he used to buy me doughnuts :-) He was a hero x

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    1. Teresa, any grandad who smuggles his grand-daughter indoors to avoid an angry neighbour, is immediately elevated to hero status. What a star!

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  7. My maternal grandfather came from a poor Alabama farm family, had only eight years of school, and went on to be president of one of Florida's largest banks. He also won a milking contest in which only leading businessmen competed. I still have the stainless steel milk pail that was his prize.

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    1. Your grandfather's life story must make you very proud, Vicki. I'm intrigued to hear about the milking contest in which only leading businessmen competed.

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  8. Wonderful post and your grandparents sound terrific. I only knew by grandma and nanna as both grandfathers died pretty young - but they were all heroic to me - nanna had 10 children and a shell shocked husband who was rarely home to help (he ran an illegal book ;) ) and she raised them well; my grandmother was as tough as nails (no hot water, an outside toilet, tiny house, 3 huge sons) and her husband died in his early 50's (he - my grand-dad was a staunch unionist and head of the plasterers union and a founding member of the Australian communist party). They were all dirt poor but tough and capable.

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    1. Yes, they were a couple of 'characters', sure enough Gabrielle. Your grandmothers were pretty impressive too. Tough and capable remain essential qualities for those bent on survival. I'm sure their genes haven't passed you by.

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  9. Both my Grandmothers- unfortunately my Grandfathers had long since passed away before I was born. Both my Grandmothers were fiercely independent women. My maternal grandmother was the first woman to own stock-she loaned Henry Ford $100 to start up his company and the deal was he would give her equal value in stock. Henry really didn't approve of that and instead gave it to her broher- who turned around and gave it to my Grandmother. On the other spectrum was my paternal Grandmother who raised my father and his brother alone as their father had died during the influenza epidemic in 1919. She went to work in a steno pool for an insurance company and when she retired she was the private secretary for the President of that company. She never remarried and was forced to retire at 65. They had to replace her with two women. Both my Grandmothers were made of stern stuff, but still loved their children and grandchildren with great passion.

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