I was really interested in what people said about their grandparents, so I took their comments out of the comments bit and put them in here. The past really is another country. If anyone has more stories, I would really love to hear them.
My grandmother (Gladys) met my grandfather (Dick) when he ran errands as an office boy and she was an office junior. She liked him because he was cheeky. She made friends with his sister (Bet) and when she was orphaned (in her mid teens) Bet’s family took her in to live with them.
Dick and Gladys used to go cycling together before they were married. We still have old black and white pictures of them out cycling.
Funny how that echoes Landlord and me. I moved under his roof due to life crcumstances, we also eventually became a couple and we also cycle around the countryside together.
I shouldn’t really exist, as my maternal Nana was run over by a horse-and-cart in her twenties and was told she would never have children, She didn’t go overboard in reproducing compared to some of her generation, but she did have 2 children in the end.
How she came to have the accident in the first place I’m not sure. It obviously didn’t hinder her agility to sprint up the road in terror to the shelter when the air-raid sirens went, leaving my mother, who was 13ish at the time, to scoop up her 7 year-old brother and try and catch up with her. Eventually neighbours recognised the pattern and leant a hand in getting them all safely to the shelter.
My father’s parents met in the USSR. Grandpa was an assistant at the Marxism Studies department and met my grandma when she came to their library to pick up some books for a report. He helped her choose the books, and then helped her again when she showed up again, and then one day said he would pick out the books for her only if she let him deliver them to her home. And she needed those books so badly that she agreed. Then there was some dumping of other young men and women and they got married:)
My grandfather was a jesuit from Spain of italian heritage. He moved to the Dominican Republic to do some work as a Jesuit and met my grandmother who was born in St. Barts and had gone to the Dominican Republic to study medicine. She was 23, he was 31. He left the Jesuits and started chasing my grandma. She finally gave in and they had 7 children, among them my father. They had to fight lots of people who did not understand them. It was an interracial couple at the time where it was not the norm. Anyway, my maternal grandparents met through work. My grandfather was an amzing painter and my grandma taught languages. They met at the university both were of french background.
My paternal grandparents met at Oxford. In those days, (1930s) men and women weren’t allowed to go out with each other unescorted and my Nana and Grandpa met because they were chaperones to their two friends. My Nana died in 2001 and my Grandpa in 2003. At my Grandpa’s funeral I met the woman whom my Nana was chaperoning in Oxford – she had married her date who had died in the late 90s and the four of them had remained friends for all those years. If it wasn’t for her, my grandparents may not have met and I might not be here – I did feel terribly sad for her to be the remaining one of the four left.
I’m not sure how my maternal grandparents met – I know they were part of Harrogate high society and there was a 20 year age-gap between them. When my mother was born, her father was already 60. I never knew my maternal grandmother – she died before my parents married in 1966 and my maternal grandfather died in 1974 so I only have very hazy memories of him, it is weird to think he was born in 1885 though. I will ask my aunts how they met – thanks for the question, Waffle. Jando (aka Li’l o).
Never met any of mine. My mother’s mother was Dutch – and died when Mum was only 12, leaving her to bring up several younger siblings. Her Dad was from County Mayo and, apparently, was a mean old bugger who brought in a succession of ‘aunties’ over the years. Dad’s side – no idea. His ‘mother’ turned out to be his grandma, the woman he’s been calling auntie all his life up to the age of 20 was his Mum, and we have no idea who his Dad was (hence the above arrangements). I don’t think he ever forgave them for lying to him all that time. I certainly never met his Mum.
It’s lovely to see my niece and nephews with their grandparents, though.
I never knew my paternal grendparents as my grandfather died when my father was very young. his mother developed a psychotic depression adn was institutionalised for a year (my father lived with his much older sister) before they discovered that sdhe actually had a brain tumour. It was removed and she came home but she was left with fits. one time she apparently burned all the flesh off her arm whilst ironing and had a fit. When my dad started dating my mum he invited her home but forgot to mention any of this – he left her alone with his mother who had a huge fit, completely terrifying my mother who had no idea this was a daily occurrence. His mother died before they got married. He had 2 older sisters and a younger sister who was adopted out by an aunty due to his mother’s indisposition. He’s never met her since or heard from her.
My maternal grandfather grew up as the son of off-licence owners in South Wales. My maternal grandmother was the daughter of a coalmining union leader ( she’s now the biggest Tory ever!) and left home at 15 to become a nanny for the local GP. She said she told him off for being cruel when he called his childre Suzanne and Benjamin as they were such awful names – 40 years later 2 of her 15 grandchildren were called by these names! They met just before the war and got married the year after war broke out. My grandfather was a bomber and survived the war. they had 5 children and moved to England where my grandfather was some sort of manager in a London company. He died in 1993 aged 75. my grandmother is 86 now and currently in Australia meeting her newest great-grandchild (2 months old).
And finally, Lesley offers the following rather depressing statistic:
“The chances are that only one out of your 8 great-grandchildren will remember your name”.
I half remembered that statistic from a Robert Winston documentary. Half-remembered is right because I am very happy to report that things are much better than I thought. In actual fact, TWO of your great-grandchildren will remember your name. That really does make all the hassle of ensuring that your genes cascade down the generations worthwhile doesn’t it?
i think there’s a broken italics tag here somewhere:)
the statistic IS depressing. ouch.
We are very lucky to have all my parents and grandparents still intact- as are all my husbands (except for his paternal grandfather) Meaning that my children have 4 living grandparents and 7 great grandparents. We have made a point of Ezra knowing all of their names- even if he does sometimes get them mixed up
Aphra Behn says
My maternal grandparents met when he was a dashing army officer in his early 30s convalesing near her home. She was 17. They were engaged after 3 weeks, together another 3 weeks, and he then went off to the War for 3 years of fighting, ironically enogh, in Basra and Ramardi. They were married early in the 1920s, and he whisked her off to the High Himalayas to be a Memsahib in the Raj. I have a bottle of scotch which went from what is now Pakistan to Afgansitan through the Khyber Pass four times. The past may be a foreign country, but we have been there before.
My paternal grandparents met because he was a doctor and she was a nurse in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her father was Italian and her mother was probably Irish, but family legend had her growing up in Italy even though we have her christening certificate from Hexham in Northumberland. My grandfather died when her four children were under the age of 10 and she took them as far away from his relatives as she could while remaining in Britain and settled on the Isle of Wight.
Interesing post. Thank you.
My grandparents got married in April. My mother (their eldest) came along in September of that same year. As you can imagine this was not quite quite in those days and so this is probably why we’ve never asked for any details of how they met etc as it might cause some discomfort. For them, obviously, not us.
As I shan’t be having any great-grandchildren, the prospect of my name not being remembered is academic.