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A Grandparent's Legacy

Updated on September 2, 2015
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Lest we forget...

As a child, I remember attending the many tea parties, luncheons, and garden parties that my grandmother, a member of the Eastern Star, threw for friends, family, and Eastern Star members. I wasn't allowed to just run around like a typical six year old does today. Oh no, back in the day, it was expected (even at that tender age) that I help. Generally, that meant my 'job' was to run errands for the ladies and gentlemen attending the soiree. I delivered tea cups, spoons, serviettes, the occasional tray of goodies, cleared side plates, and once I was even asked to 'entertain the 'troops' with my trusty ukulele.

I must admit to feeling quite grown up - giving a 'concert' in front of my grandmother's friends, who were thrilled with my performance. Ah to be six again!

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Rewards

I spent my formative years learning to be of service not only to others, but to the older generation, as, of course, my granny's friends, and our family members were mostly in their 60's and older. (To a six year old, anyone with gray hair and wrinkles was old!)

I also learned, at a tender age, that these mature men and women appreciated every little service I performed. Whether it was simply taking a plate into the kitchen for them, passing a tray of teeny tiny sandwiches, or finding a Kleenex, everything I did was rewarded with a smile and sincere "Thank you dear."

These small gestures of appreciation stuck with me, and I admit it felt good to be helpful.

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Positive experience

My granny was fond of "Thank you darling," which was my personal favourite.

This in turn, fostered positive reinforcement, so that as I grew older, I retained the desire to be of assistance to my elders. I open doors, pack groceries, make phone calls, carry bags, anything that needs doing at that time to help make their day a little brighter, or less stressed. It is not a habit, but a way of life for me. I will go out of my way to offer a helping hand - whether it is helping someone cross the street, or putting a scooter together in a parking lot.

Sometimes I don't have to do anything except listen.

Later in life, before my son was born, I was fortunate to be chosen as a volunteer at an Extended Care facility at my local hospital. Every week, I would help plan a special luncheon, as well as cook and serve it to many of the residents. After desert, I stayed to play tile rummy with a few of the ladies, (who soundly trumped me,) and listened as they shared their histories with me. It was both a rewarding and enriching experience that I treasure to this day.

Those few minutes were worth more than cooking and serving the meal. I truly enjoyed their company.

An appreciation

When I think back on all the years I spent helping my granny with her garden parties, and basking in the glow of her friends and family members, I realise how lucky I was to be part of something that is rarely, if ever, seen in this day and age. I was welcomed and gently schooled in the now forgotten, (or so it seems), art of etiquette. The lessons I learned at my granny's knee have served me well, and made me a better person.

I appreciate the wisdom and knowledge that is passed down to following generations, if we only take the time to listen. A very wise man once said, "Just because there is snow on the roof, doesn't mean there isn't a fire within."

So many young people don't realize how enjoyable it spending time with seniors. They have so much to share and most of them have a wicked sense of humor!

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I can remember the first time I visited an Asian friend of mine. I was in my early twenties, and was surprised when, after being introduced to her grandparents, I discovered that they lived in the same house. This aspect of their culture was one that I thought would be good to adopt. There would be little need for "old folks homes" as our elderly population would be cared for by their families.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for many of our seniors, and as our population ages, we are forced to seek positive solutions for their care and attention. It doesn't take much effort to volunteer a few hours of our time to brighten someone's day. It doesn't cost an arm or a leg to bring enjoyment to someone's life. It only costs time.

The rewards are amazing and you feel like the most popular person in the world!

To quote a line from a song, "Spread a little love today, Give them something to remember..." this is something that everyone can do. You don't need to be rich, or educated, just willing to spend some time. You might be surprised at how enriching it is to "spread a little love"...

Footnote

Now that my children have grown and moved away, I find I have more time to devote to the little things in life - one of which is volunteering a couple of hours a week at a senior's residence. I attend every Wednesday for afternoon tea. Once a month there is a birthday party for everyone born in that particular month, and there are balloons, flowers, cake and music. Everyone has a great time, but I'm pretty sure that I have more fun than anyone else there.

It is just as enjoyable now as it was when I was younger. Even more so now because I sing and dance around the tables when I serve tea and cookies, and enjoy the smiles and laughter as they watch me cavort around with a teapot in my hand.

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    • Enelle Lamb profile imageAUTHOR

      Enelle Lamb 

      9 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Thank you Tom R., I know there are a lot of people who would disagree with you, but not me. I miss the interaction with the older generations.

      Tom C., I can close my eyes and smell the fresh homemade bread and garden tomatoes...so much stopped when she did, I too miss my granny. Thank you for the compliment, and the read.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      Wonderful hub....I dearly miss my grandmothers. Thanks. :)

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Beautiful article. Interaction between generations is not just important, it's vital to us as a species.

    • Enelle Lamb profile imageAUTHOR

      Enelle Lamb 

      9 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      dwilliamson: You are most welcome, I enjoyed writing it, I'm glad you liked it :)

      RedElf: It was indeed a trip down memory lane :D, I miss it to be sure...just not done anymore, and I find that sad...

      dr c: I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading my story :D

    • dr c profile image

      dr c 

      9 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      as usual, I love your hub, thank you

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Wow, that brings back memories! What a great hub, Enelle. I think we lose so much today with our busy child-centered lives - lives that often don't include the opportunity to just be with older folk...and that is a shame, because they enrich our lives so much. Thank you.

    • dwilliamson profile image

      dwilliamson 

      9 years ago from Kamloops, BC

      Thank you for answering my request Enelle Lamb. That was an awesome story and yes, we don't see that as much today as we should.

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