About Grandmothers

As of lately I try to ward off any news with a potential of elevating blood pressure. I should have known better then look at lgf because I found this grandmother from hell.

I just can’t help but think of my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother and how totally different they are from this woman, and how much better. Of course, they also had better husbands.

When I went home for Thanksgiving my mother showed me a September 1941 letter that my father’s dad wrote to his wife, my grandmother. At the time the Great Patriotic War was only a couple months old and my grandmother evacuated to Russia’s north, the town of Omsk, with their two sons. She struggled to find a job and feed them. Judging from the content of the letter, my grandfather stayed behind to work in some sort of a field hospital. He started out together with his friends, but the friends were leaving on orders one by one. He expected to be relocated somewhere as well. At the time my grandfather was already in his 40s, mature and experienced enough to have no illusions about the nature of the Soviet regime. And yet he answered to call of duty and kept his spirits high, working for the victory against the Nazi Germany. He had many warm and tender things to say his straggling wife and young children.

Then there are my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother. They also lived through WW2. And the Civil War, and two Russian revolutions. My grandmother birthed my mom in the middle of WW2, as a matter of fact. They raised both my mom and her brother in post-war poverty. My grandmother lost her prestigious university lab position in the 50s because she was Jewish. My mother’s brother was denied university admission for the same reason. He alter was denied his right to immigrate.

And yet despite all of this, my grannies lived long and fulfilling lives. They were full of life, warmth and wisdom. They were kind and just. How lucky we are in the West to have women like that in our families! We are also incredibly lucky to have their stories to tell to our children.


November 25, 2006. Breedosaurus.

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