Friday, March 18, 2022

Grandpa, Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days

A clickbaity title, a question, and an answer.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.   

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  

Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device 

"Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them." -Goethe

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

A question from a gentlereader: What do you mean when you say you're writing these letters to your grandkid's eventual selves? 

I'm just a grandpa, talkin' 'bout the good ol' da...

{Please, just stop.} 

Answer: While I'm delighted to report that the current crop continues to exceed my expectations, it's still relatively early and won't be fully ripened for a while yet. It's a rare H. sapien that's fully ripened before the age of 25 and it's not unusual for the process to last till the age of 30 or so, as it did in my case. 

They're free to read them now of course, and make of them what they will or won't, but it's not just a matter of them being mature enough to appreciate the wit and wisdom of their beloved grandfather. 

These letters are a sort of oral history that's being written in real-time. Instead of some present or future version of me being interviewed and recorded by someone else, I'm both interviewer and interviewee and I serve multiple constituencies.


What? That's a real word. I'm writing to the Stickies, their future selves, Stickies who haven't arrived yet, my current self ("Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers." -Isaac Asimov), my future self, and of course, my gentlereaders.   

I'm a Boomer born in the middle of my best century so far, baby...

{You can't help yourself, can you?}  

And I'm the fortunate/accidental beneficiary of a bunch of blessings.

My grandparents, on my father's side, were both immigrants from the now-defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was a mechanic and she was a housewife. Mum's mom was a farm girl and her dad was a coal miner. 

I have/had no shortage of aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and nieces and nephews. I came up in both gritty, inner-city Pittsburgh neighborhoods and a couple of green suburbs — both bulging with fellow Boomers and Boomerettes.  

My father was a painter (of walls and trim, not canvasses) and Mum was a stay-at-home mom, which at the time was the rule, not the exception. They had seven kids and when their luck held, just enough money to go around. Cash flow problems were a constant problem but we never went hungry and were never the poorest family in the neighborhood. 

I was lucky enough to be the product of a working-class family, not to be unusually attractive, and to not have achieved fame and/or fortune at a young age. 



Pretty people, blessed/cursed by being born into a financially secure situation and/or stumbling into one as if on cue, often are not conscious of their dumb luck until misfortune inevitably bites them on the bum at some point. They may not appreciate what they have, or worse, take it for granted. They often are possessed by ideologies untempered by reality.  

Many, even if they paid attention in history class, are oblivious to the fact that until relatively recently most H. sapiens were somewhat preoccupied with where their next meal was coming from if they had managed to survive their childhood.  

I, having sometimes paid attention in history class, having roots/a perspective that stretches back to the late 18th century, having parents that lived through the Great Depression and WW2, having a life that stretches from the introduction of a vaccine for polio to men persons landing on the moon to supercomputers in everyone's pocket (and, God help us, social media mobs), to constant digital disruption and disintermediation to...

{What's polio?} 

And having experienced the traditional morality and lifestyles of the 1950s, participated in tossing the tot out with the Jacuzzi water in the late 1960s and 70s, and currently experiencing the revival of Marxism (Wokieness) in spite of 100,000,000+ H. sapiens murdered in the pursuit of a socialist utopia so far...

{Well, communism's never really been tried or properly implemented you know.}

I, eventually, came to understand the importance and utility of at least trying to keep an eye on the big picture, and maintaining an attitude of gratitude 24x7x365.  

Therefore, I write letters to the Stickie's eventual selves to hopefully spare them from learning at least some things the hard way while compiling an oral history as I go, before I go. 

{Um... Why don't you just talk to them while you await deletion?}  

I do, and I even attempt to wrap up my mini-sermons before their eyes start to glaze over, and keep in mind that the sermons you live tend to be much more effective than the ones you preach. 

But I don't see the harm in leaving behind a textbook of sorts while striving to provide a bit of enlightened infotainment for my gentlereaders. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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