February 10, 2015
Remembering My Grandmother-In-Law
Now because of marriages, divorces, and re-marriages I've had a total of 5 grandmothers, but none were in the same ballpark as Ida. Obviously my introduction to the family somewhere around her 9th decade on this planet didn't impress her enough to remember me much, but that isn't really a surprise. By that point her hearing was atrocious and I think her memory was going more than she wanted to let on. See Ida had a HUGE independent streak and the fascinating bluntness and openness you really only see in the elderly (or me on a "good" night).
I first got to meet Ida pretty much with the rest of the family early on when I was dating Carolyn. We all went out to the Olive Garden (I have no idea why, but we did) and I tried to be a gentleman and as I was putting someone's coat away I could her Ida pretending to whisper to Carolyn, "He's cute". OK, so that was my 1st clue grandma's sight wasn't so good. The dinner was pleasant enough and I don't think I saw grandma for another month or two until we had dinner at my future in-law's home....
......I should state that I prefer to use the more familiar term "grandma", but from what I've been told for Ida it has never been "grandma", but grudgingly "Grandmother". I'm not sure that fits the tone of my post and I'll just let [rest of the sentence redacted due to a terrible unintentional pun].
Anyway, we are at the home where Carolyn grew up and making the normal small talk over dinner when Ida decides she wants to be involved. "Chris, when you were in the Marines....." as she trailed of this segue waiting for my attention she is corrected, by Carolyn's folks, that I was in the Air Force. Ida nods her head and asks again, "When you were in the Marines....." Judy, Carolyn's mom, repeats that I was in the Air Force, even going so far as to T-rex her arms to the side like she was a little plane. "Air Force mother..." Ida nods her head again and goes, "Yeah, yeah.....Air Force. I got it." OK then.
Ida turns back to me and says, yet again, "So when you were in the Marines..." I put my hand up saying, "just let her finish". ".......was it hard to get sugar?" As someone who might have remembered both World Wars I'm more than certain she remembers war rationing. I just chuckle, because I'm quite certain that Ida is just trying to be involved and really has no clue what anyone is saying. Carolyn and I have been dating pretty serious, or so I think, and this is the first family dinner I've been invited to.
Aside from my chuckle I don't hesitate to respond, in my own particular fashion, "No, not at all. We used to save up the sugar packets from our rations and use them to go whoring with downtown." Ida just bobbed her head, happy to be part of a conversation and the rest of the family let what I said sink in.
To me, that sums up Ida.