Grandparents

Shopkeeping – a family business

Unusually, I didn’t have grandparents

Well obviously I had grandparents, else I wouldn’t exist. It’s complicated

As a child I knew of two grandmothers and one grandfather

Grandmother 1 was known as Gran in hospital. She couldn’t talk, write, walk or even sit up. She’d had a stroke when I was five years old. There was nothing to be done for stroke sufferers. Grandmother 1 was called Annie. She lay in a hospital bed for seventeen years

Annie – Grandmother 1

Grandmother 2 never had children. She was our step grandmother, our dad having lost his mum when he was three years old. His dad remarried, but not until many years later. Grandmother 2 was called Jenny. My strongest memory of her is a collection of porcelain budgies. You read that right

Grandfather was in the RAF when my dad was little. When I knew him, he worked in engineering. When his wife died young their son, my dad, was mainly raised by his grandmother and his “unmarried” aunt – there’s a qualifier we can live without

Grandfather, who should be referred to as Grandfather 1, was called Allan. He was the youngest of a large family, which led to us having numerous second cousins

Allan – Grandfather 1,
and Jenny – Grandmother 2

These are the three known grandparents. Now I’ll move on to the unknowns. Sally and Jack

Sally died young. I can neither remember nor rediscover her cause of death. I do remember being told it could have been easily treated had antibiotics been available. They weren’t. Sally died leaving a three year old child, a widower, and an extended family newly liable for raising a wee boy

Grandmother 3, Sally: a grandmother who never aged

Sally – Grandmother 3 – with her family

Jack was never mentioned. My mother’s family emigrated to Canada when she was an infant. Several aunts, uncles and cousins emigrated together

A few years later, Annie – Grandmother 1 – returned to Scotland with her three children, no husband. Jack, Grandfather 2, stayed in Canada

One Christmas, I was seventeen, all the cards were on my parents’ sideboard. I read them, looked at the pictures, including one from my mum’s Aunt May in Canada

How can I describe my feelings as I read the short note inside? Shock; sadness; anger; distress; almost grief? It went something like this:

“Your dad has been unwell but he’s on the mend”

Your dad. That’s my mother’s father. My grandfather. Grandfather 2

No-one ever said he was dead. I had simply assumed. I grew up unaware that I had a living grandparent who had never been acknowledged – had never acknowledged me or my brother

Canadian relatives had visited my family. Had they spoken of Jack in secret? Not mentioned him at all?

Grandfather 2, Jack: a grandfather over whom a curtain had been drawn

One of them is Jack – Grandfather 2

So there it is. I had no grandparents, despite having five

______

Thank you for reading my stories. I enjoy writing them

Visit my shop, One Basket, 46A Horsemarket, Kelso

Instagram: one_basket

See you again soon

2 responses to “Grandparents”

    1. I’ve never noticed the shop photo before! I’ll be using it frequently from now on

      Like

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