THE MODERN GRANDMA
The old rocking-chair will be empty today
for Grandma no longer is in it.
She’s off in her car to her office or shop;
she buzzes around every minute.
You won’t see her trundling off early to bed
from her chair in a warm chimney nook;
her typewriter’s clicking far into the night,
for Grandma is writing a book!
Our heroine never allows backward looks
to slow down her steady advancing;
there ‘s no baby-sitting for her anymore—
for Grandma has taken up dancing.
She isn’t content with her thoughts of old times,
with meager and second-hand knowledge.
So don’t bring your mending for Grandma to do
for Grandma has gone back to college!
I’ve Googled and found this poem listed as “Author Anonymous” in several books, with a few variations. I found this version in the 1976 Friendship Book of Francis Gay. None of them mentioned Grandma running for office, but modern grandparents are doing that, too.
Yes, the lot of grandparents has changed very much my grandparents’ day. We’ve lost some important connections and probably thrown too much wisdom “out with the bathwater,” as Grandma would say. But in many ways I’m very thankful for the freedom seniors have today.
At the Villa one day over dinner we talked about some of the changes that make it possible for handicapped people to get out and about, like walkers, motorized wheelchairs, sidewalk ramps. And then there are health benefits like cataract surgery and macular degeneration treatment to prevent blindness and various medications to regulate the heart and keep people active longer. So Grandma can go back to college. 🙂
I think of my Grandma, who went from home to home visiting her children, not often appreciated by the grands. She had basically no interaction with us except to reprove bad behaviour. The mentality back in her childhood would have been “children should be seen and not heard”; it was not for parents to have a rapport with their children.
One older man told his son, “I envy you that, that you young fathers are encouraged to be close with, and affectionate to, your children. When I was young, fathers were to represent Authority, be stern and dole out correction.”
Some widowed grandmothers a century ago were simply “taken in” by whoever of the children had the most room or time to care for her. I would—and I think most grandmothers now would—far rather have their own small quarters in a senior’s residence than be the “fifth wheel” in a busy family.