I've just been thinking a lot about my grandfather lately... when he taught me to play poker (visualize 8 year old me trying very hard to keep a poker face that meets with his standards -- he learned poker from his uncle, who was a riverboat gambler and looks like a charming devil not to be trusted in the one photograph I have of him), telling stories about when he was a kid in the Depression, his 8 million irritating traits, most of which I've inherited, his chunky plastic glasses --stuff like that -- and I've been missing him a lot. Tell me about your grandparents.
Mine are all dead.
I don't think I've ever met a Norman Rockwell type family anywhere -- when I think I've found one, what it really means is that I don't know them very well.
My grandfather on my mom's side passed away a few years ago, and that was really sad as he was really the only person on my family who I really found a common tongue with. He was a local director of propaganda back in the USSR days and a well respected doctor, plus a chess champ. Really brilliant guy. My grandmother still lives in Ukraine, she's a little bit loopy but incredibly upbeat and loving.
On my father's side, my grandfather is a religious fanatic, a martyr (jailed for anti-soviet+religious propaganda) and a very cold man who doesn't like me at all and expects me to address him with the formal form of "you" rather than the informal tense that's usually used with grandparents and friends. My grandmother on that side is very small and quiet, likes to talk about the war and famines. My grandfather doesn't treat her all that well.
@oblomov -- The formal 'you' -- eesh, that does strike me as pretty cold. I also felt like I got along with my maternal grandfather much better than the rest of the family -- mostly because our temperaments jived pretty well -- which is odd, because I argued more with him than the rest of the family. Everybody else in the family excels at the stereotypical WASP 'everything's just fine' (while fuming for ever) sort of thing -- best exemplified by my great great grandfather, who I never met. He and his wife reportedly had an argument one day, and then he moved into a shed on the edge of their farm for the last forty years of his life. He came in the house for meals, and they were reportedly civil with each other, and never, ever talked about the fact that he was living in the shed.
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