I have to look back sometimes, I think everyone should research their family tree, you never know what you will find.
One of my ancestors was the first surgeon to operate with Ether. Crawford W. Long. A hospital is named after him in downtown Atlanta. Bragging? Maybe. But one of his ancestors also was my grandmother.
Grandmother was never grandma. She hated that label, can't say I blame her. She preferred to be called Janie. And she's my father's mother.
Janie had a glamourous life for a while. She was a buyer for Rich's, and a personal buyer to the rich and successful. As hard to believe as it may be, she was Margaret Mitchell's personal buyer for a period of time, which is why my grandparents where able to attend the premiere of "Gone with the Wind" at the Loew's Grand downtown which is now defunct, it burned down.
Somewhere along the way she must have met my grandfather. Maybe a client? I can't say because I don't know. Janie drank excessively, I know from talking to my mother. Janie opened up to her in later years. Grandaddy made plenty of money working for Gulf oil, but he was a miser and didn't live an extravagant lifestyle. Not for the most part. Janie had mood swings and she drank excessively, landing in the sanitarium a couple of times. They hired sitters to care for my father and my uncle when they were children when they went out drinking. One thing I remember is her saying repeatedly "Shut up Claude". I'm sure he probably drove her batshit crazy sometimes.
When I was little I recall snippets of my childhood " Suzanne you should be ashamed of yourself putting all this gum in the ashtray",and " You wet the bed again?? Laundry wash, wash, wash!" . But I don't hate my grandmother, I actually understand her. Her nails were always perfectly manicured. Her eyes would light up when she spoke of her youth. She missed her glamour days. Having an adulturous husband was not easy I'm sure. The family men were adulterers, the women? There is mystery I may never uncover. Every family has their skeletons. Many far more interesting I'm sure. My genepool has been very enlightening. I don't blame my problems on them, but I have developed an understanding due to some research.
I miss Janie. She died when I was 15 of lung cancer. Most every time I light up a cigarette, I think of her smoking up to the moment she passed away, when hospitals in certain areas still alowed smoking. And I'm wracked with guilt for taking her beloved novels that she gave me to the used bookstore for credit when I was 20. So I raise my glass of sparkling non alcoholic apple cider to her. "I miss you Janie, wish I'd known you better."
Till next time...