I wasn’t as lucky as my Iowa cousins or my children – they grew up in close proximity to at least one set of grandparents. Since my sisters and I lived within five miles of our parents, all of our children spent a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa. I saw my grandparents once a year at most when we went to Iowa or they came to California.
Consequently, while I have vivid impressions of my grandparents, I can’t say I really knew them – certainly not as well as my cousins did. My grandmother was particularly elusive – quiet, sensitive, soft-spoken and introverted although in fairness most people would appear quiet in the shadow of my extroverted grandfather R.S. He was so gregarious and entertaining it was only natural that she let him do most of the talking.
I see elements of both my father’s parents in my father. Like RS, he was comfortable talking to others and easy for them to talk to – because, like my grandmother, he listened more than he talked. His gentle nature and sensitivity resembled his mother more than his father but he was very much his own man – as he had to be, to leave his family roots in Iowa to move to California.
What I like about this diary entry is the way Grandma spoke up for herself in a clear but non-confrontational way. She didn’t disagree or contradict RS often, but on the rare occasions she did, what she said was worth hearing. I wish I’d written more of it down.