Friday, 13 September 2019

Grandma's Birthday

My Grandma was the oldest person in my family that I grew up knowing. She was born in 1890. I found myself thinking of her and Grandpa when pushing Struan in his swing at the park. He's a rather large child for his age and it was tiring work. I found myself calculating the age of my grandparents when I came along. Grandma would have been 66. Mind, I was a very small baby, being premature and all, and she will have had regular work outs with my weekly visits. 

Grandma was largely senile by the time I was 12, with only bits of her real personality peeking out here and there. I feel somewhat cheated at not having more time with the person my cousin calls his 'favourite auntie'. 

Grandma & me, c. 1957


What I have learned in searching out the records of my Dad's adoption is that the story is much different than I would have guessed. I grew up believing that Grandpa was disappointed I wasn't a boy, as his surname ended with my Dad. I would have guessed that Grandpa would have been keen to have adopted a boy. On the contrary, it was Grandma who filled out all the adoption papers and she asked for a little girl. It just turned out that my Dad was what was immediately on offer at the time and they snatched him up. 

I'm not sure Grandma was any better at raising children than my other Grandmother was at owning dogs (see yesterday's post). My dad wasn't exactly neurotic but he was spoiled rotten. Very much the opposite to many of the stories that came from children who were fostered out of the same orphanage as his records show. As it happened, he never actually went to that state school but was adopted from the maternity home where his birth mother left him, aged 11 months. It is an altogether odd and very sad story that none of us ever knew. 

Grandma and Grandpa did their best to claim my Dad as their very own and they nearly got away with it, but for a woman who snapped an illicit photo of the orphanage register and sent that photo to me. One of my life's stranger turns.

All that aside, Grandma and Grandpa were excellent grandparents and I count myself lucky to have had them.


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