Monday, March 22, 2010
For one of my classes right now, we had an assignment to interview a "senior citizen". At first, I thought, hmmm...I don't really know any... Then he said "...like a grandma or grandpa..." Oh! My Grandma! Well, I wouldn't put her under the category of senior citizen, but Gram, definitely. So today I caught Gram on the phone while she was starting her hike up Neff's Canyon. Of course, Gram was just out for a hike after she went to her "buff shop" (later found out to be Curves). Gram, you amaze me.
So I asked her some questions for the class, and others, just out of curiosity. Here's a glimpse of my notes as I talked to her. I tried to write as quickly as possible.
What did you have around your house when you were young? And what did you do for entertainment?
No TV's, we all gathered, with the family around the radio. The radio is where we got Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy, the Lone Ranger. Back in the day, there were no video games, or iphones. We played. We went out in the neighborhood, hide and go seek, kick the can, or walk to our little neighborhood movie. We went to the drugstore and got milkshakes for 25 cents and cokes for a dime and candy bars for a nickel. It was an era of make your own fun. We didn't text, we relied on the telephone. My father pulled the phone out of the wall once because he thought I was talking too long. We just relied on our families, our friends, for our entertainment.
Every night our family sat down at the table for dinner. You were expected to have a conversation and tell about your day, bring something interesting. I see now days families so on the fly. We didn't have nearly that, we had much more open time to create.
What advice do you have for me as I am getting to the stage where I will start my family?
From my perspective, they always said it would be a quote, 'bat of an eye'. Well you don't believe it when you're your age, and when you start a family, and particularly start having your own children, you will be so involved in the mechanics of it, that you won't realize, you couldn't possibly, that at my perspective and point in life, it is such a fast trip! The journey is over before you know it, and you cannot believe that and seize that as a young person. There is just no way. My advice would be just enjoy the journey. It's precious and it will go fast. before you know it, your baby daughter will be telling you she wants to go buy a wedding dress or your son will be shopping for his missionary suit. And then you get to this stage, the older you get the faster it goes. It is a precious journey. Enjoy the ride. A lot of people waste it by saying when this happens I'll be happy, you have to find a way to be happy in the now...there are down valleys in every relationship, in every job. But that's part of it, it's how you do those things and how you react and handle them.
When did you get so into outdoor activities?
You do know I'm 78, I was born in 1931 during the depression. I, because of my childhood, I've always been living in California, where the sunshine always was. I have always been outdoors. With tennis, bikes, volleyball. So much outdoor. Then after schooling, and college, and marrying Kenny. He was such an outdoorsman. He had a little boat when I married him. We were always just skiing the mountains or boating the lakes. It was later that I started the running, and when my body couldn't run, I started hiking the mountains. It is body mind and spirit. it does more for me than anything I can do for myself. You always need to program in for yourself time for just you. Whether it's the run, whether it's a hike. When I was a caregiver, I had a little window, and the mountains in the trails brought me back, more than ladies luncheons, they kept me right side up. Now I feel the mountains feed me. I just think God's handiwork is where I find my greatest peace. Also, my greatest benefit. I'm getting buff at my buffer up shop! Have you heard of Curves? All women, and 13 machines, jane, you wouldn't believe it, I'm getting buff!!
How has aging affected these activities?
After all these years, and skiing was in my soul because grampy and I had just been with our kids, in a ski mountain, and of course it wasn't so prohibited in costs, and grampy would work ski races and the whole family would get ski passes. And going this year, I can still get down the mountain with a fair amount of style and grace, but my knees, with all the years of hiking and skiing, they're saying, 'you know what, you may be done girl. If you want to be okay, you might have to cut the skiing.' If you don't have good knees in there you won't be too swift on the mountain. And then, giving in, on my hikes it probably takes about twice as long as getting to my destination. So I think trying to age gracefully, not fight it. When the time comes, and you think that it's not worth pushing it, like it's not worth it to me to go up on a ski mountain and ruin my knees so i can't do this daily hobby of mine that I so love of hiking, you've got to have trade offs.
How long did you date Grampy before marrying him? And how did you get to where you are today?
I came to Salt Lake in april. I probably met him in May, of course he was 5 years older than I was. That made a huge difference because he had done college, had graduated, had done the service, he was working, he had a business. So it was very different for me, who I dated college boys and guys pretty much my own age. But grampy was a whole different cut. There was a larger than life quality about him. and he was so charming, everyone loved Kenny. That was true all through our marriage. Everyone gravitated towards him. We met in April of 53 and were married in November of 53. And the fact that I was from California, I was then working for the airlines and I was stationed in Salt Lake. He was 27, I was 22. And he thought it was about time for him to get married and he just kind of swept me off my feet. And so I went from living in the Bay area, going to the university of Colorado, working for the airlines, to live in Ephraim, UT. And I was not a member of the church and he was an inactive member. I couldn't go to the Episcopal church, even if I wanted to, because there were only 3 or 4 wards there. I loved my church, I really did, tithe payers, worked for the church. But I was moving to Ephraim. I had never known a Mormon, didn't know anything about the church. Got baptized in the Manti temple that next year. Then grampy and I still stayed on the edges, the way out edges, until Pam, your mom, was about 3rd of 4th grade. And we moved into our salt lake ward and they started pursuing us, we ended up going to the temple then. And that's when I was really converted. And the way I learned the gospel is when my little girls were little and they came and asked me to teach primary. So I learned it line upon line by teaching those lessons, those elementary lessons. I learned the gospel. then when they approached us on taking project temple, going through the temple, we had to really sit down and say this is really going to change our lifestyle. We traveled with a great group of friends, but they were not active members of the church. So we said, if we're going to do this, we're going to do this right. If you're going to take vows, you've got to be up to living them. and so we did...And it wasn't like so many stories where they say, I know without a shadow of the doubt. I didn't. I had a very good relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, but Joseph Smith was a lot to swallow in my years. It took a lot of lessons, and a lot of years, to learn it, digest it, and then believe it. It wasn't like oh i knew. then we came by it, and grampy had been inactive, so he had a firm core belief, he really always did, but he just like so many guys back in those years,just kind of fell away. They went in the service and got away, got a taste of how the world lives.
Any other advice for me?
Each little plateau of your life changes, and you do learn from experience. You learn all the little dumb stuff you overreact to as a little person. Your mother always had a big capacity to put the things that matter most at the forefront and not let them be sacrificed by the things that don't matter. And an example is when she talked about how upset she was on mark's hair and she said 'i'm just going to leave him alone on that, because there are so many other issues I want to teach to him, and if I bug him on his hair, well, it's just not important in the scheme of things.' I think your mother is very wise beyond her years. And most couples get mired in things that in the big scheme doesn't matter a dittle. They can have horrible arguments about stuff that doesn't matter a dittle. The other thing is the fine art of communication, and you don't know until you are living on a day to day basis that you've got to talk things through. There might be times when you might be totally diverse, totally separate on an issue, and you've got to be able to listen to him fairly, and hear his perspective. And he in turn has got to do the same for you. Sometimes it's not fun, but you've got to. And couples, if they don't, just totally shut down. If they aren't successful in hashing it, they lose the art of communication... there's going to be times when you could just ring each other's neck, unless you're different from any other marriage in the world, and you can't imagine it at first, but that's all i'd say. You've got to stay sweethearts, even when all the kids come. that's got to be first. And there's times when you think, Ohh, I'm too tired to talk to you. But communication is so important!
Gram, Thank You! Thank you for spending your "you" time on the mountain talking to Naner on the phone. This will stay the highlight of my week, and it's only Monday. I love you!