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måndag 21 mars 2016

The old folks in my life - part two


This day I had to take it easy, the hip was in a bad state because I had been straining myself all too much. Stupid, but I'm getting a bit restless.
The old folks , yes, what would the world be without them? It says in the bible that old is what you are when someone else decides for you, but it also speaks of the old as the ones to listen to.
When I was a child we lived in a block with several houses in a cluster. We had dustbins of the old kind, complete with rats.
On the bottom floor lived an old woman called mother Maria. She had the kettle on all the time wich made her coffee more like tar than anything else, but she gladly invited visitors.
They said also that she had very little money and from time to time took a pidgeon on the windowsill, necked it and cooked it. Never had a chance to prove it, but she was a kind soul.
So, when my grandfather died, only 66 years old, my grandmother was at first frightfully sorry, she wasn't very able and grandfather had done all paperwork, he was a strong personality and she missed him. My cousin actually lived with her from time to time but I took it on me to go shopping with her every friday.
So I took the bus after school and out we went. They lived very central, in an enormous flat by the canal. Close bye was the fancy store where my grandfather used to be Santa Claus for the customers children. We went there or the other major store. Grandmother was very nice to be with, she was kind and had a great sense of humour. Trouble with her, and that was a problem with my aunt as well, was her total lack of direction.
Shopping with grandmother was equal to spending half an hour just looking for her. She was short and quick and disappeared in a wink. These shoppingrounds always ended the same way, coffee and something from the bakery, we had our favourites. She told me endless stories about older days and as a child I was allowed to watch and touch everything in the house. She had these old records and her absolute favourite was Jim Reeves. Some years after grandfathers death she kind of flourished and when we got married my husband and I, she was present together with my husbands grandmother, both looking smashing with hats and jewelry. We got married in my grandfathers homechurch, they too were married there.
 Grandmother had her roots in Norway, a strangely secretive story with secondmarriages and all that. She had three brothers of whom I got very close to one in particular.
I remember as a child two of the brothers were often present at christmas, one tall and cheerful, always singing in a frisky sort of style, and the other, shorter, heavily built, with a more laidback approach and a kind and listening way arround him.
One year after our wedding my husbands grandmother died, at the age of 94.
She had been a widdow since the fifties, managing brilliantly with a big house and a child. I knew her as a very bright and capable woman.
She was a wonderful cook and made the most lovely cakes and was very good at making clothes. My husband was brought up in that same house but she moved out after a few years. We spent many sundayafternoons with her. My grandmother didn't cook and bake so much when she got older, but she had in past years. We helped her move into a smaller apartment close to my mothers, there she stayed until her health forced her to move again.
The year after my husbands grandmother left us, my own grandmother died at the age of 84. Years before, my favourite of her brothers also left us. With all three I was there when they died. It was peaceful and sad.
My grandmother, just as her husband, was brought back to her hometown and we took farewell in that same church where she had been married and me too.
All these old folks left traces, we can hear them laugh and talk, we can quote them and tell stories of their lives and adventures. Our house is full of postcards, photos and things, china mostly, you know!
Our children never met any of these old folks, I'm sad to say. We tell them to make the most of the life with old folks they do know, namely our parents! But also elderly neighbours and others we meet along the way. A while ago our oldest told me of some Youtuber that made a quiz with older people , for the fun of it. Yes, until I realized they where my age!!   Let's face it, we go from folks to old folks in a wink. Let's make the most of it!

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