May 172013
 
Missing grandparents

Growing up without their grandparents has impacted my kids’ lives. Even fifteen years later after their deaths, it can be hard to write about them.

Memories of grandparents are a treasure. That’s why it’s so important to write about grandparents when we preserve our stories.

Not everyone has had the privilege of knowing any, much less all, of their grandparents. The luckier among us grew up in the same town as their grandparents and have had (or had) them as a part of  everyday life.  On the other hand, those of us that have lost our grandparents or never had an opportunity to know them can sometimes find it hard to write about them. But we should.

Why Write about Grandparents?

Because our family history starts with our elders. Whether you grew up next door to your grandparents or never knew them–that’s part of your history. Writing about them gives your loved ones a glimpse into how your family traditions were shaped.

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Because my maternal grandmother wrote about her, I feel a connection to my great great grandmother Clark.

When we write about grandparents, we’re leaving a gift for future generations–for those that  might not  have the privilege of knowing these relatives. Younger family members  will greatly appreciate an insight into their great-grands’ personalities and lives

Write about grandparents’ personalities

While exploring old photos and records with my husband’s parents, we recently experienced first hand how much a small story can reveal about a personality. I knew all the obligatory genealogical facts about my mother-in-law’s father. However, I felt I knew him better when I learned what a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan he was.

That tiny aspect of his personality continues to connect her family to him. Every summer, as talk goes to the Tigers, someone wonders, “What would Grandpa Tuffs think?”

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My grandfather with my sister and me. (I’m the little one.)

Do sweat the small stuff

I love remembering the grin my own grandpa wore every time he called his black dog, who he had saddled with the unlikely moniker of “Snowball.”

When you write about grandparents, don’t leave out the small details, thinking of them as insignificant. Small traits, such as a farmer’s tan, crooked smile, or favorite joke, can help your readers picture the people about whom you write. Many times, those little things are just the things that of which memories are made.

Write About Your Grandparents

Try describing your grandparent(s). Were you close to them? What did they look like? What were they like? What types of things were they apt to do or say?

Did you know them when they were younger or know stories of them in their younger days?

What kind of relationship, if any, did you have? How would you summarize their personality?

Last Word:

To pass on the knowledge of a unique individual rather than an image in a portrait is a true gift.

Examples of Grandparent Memories: Sneaky Grandma, Grandma:I was too late, Milk with Two Sugars–Every once in a while.

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