Talking to old folks is fun. Seriously.
Sure they yak your ear off half the time and exclaim that you’re too skinny, but you get to hear about the lives of the Cold-War/ baby-boomer generation. I write this sandwiched between two antiques (my grandparents):
My grandfather: Hard of hearing. Greying head, yet he doesn’t seem much grayer than my father. Paints, now that’s he’s retired. Threw rocks at policemen in his youth, alongside those later arrested as Communists (my grandfather disagrees, why should they have had to die for the British imperialists in the jungles of Malaya?) Dad said he played Beethoven and Tchaikovsky around the house on the brass gramophone when he and aunt were kids, like a proper pauper of bourgesie background. His family was rich but his mother was the second wife.
My grandmother left a life of parties 200 guests and spacious courtyards for a tiny flat to cook and clean and make kueh for three children. Her brothers talk to her now, not back when she first eloped. Used to play the piano; her joints hurt now.
The other granddad: Left his country with a relative to escape an abusive stepfather. Reads a bit; he didn’t finish school.
My grandmother. Oddly liberal; of course my cousin doesn’t need him, women can work now. I asked her of her views on something my parents refused to speak of – she shook her head but smiles a bit as if to say ‘the times are a-changing’.
I would love to see a bit of them in myself.
H is for their stories,