I only really knew one grandparent personally: my Grandma Kay. Both my grandpas had died before I was born (one just a few months before I was born), and my mom’s mom is an asshole that my mother disowned for most of my life. But Grandma Kay? She was great. She served in the army as a nurse. When she left the army, she taught nursing at a nursing school for high school students — who could earn college credit for their nursing licenses for free. She fought New York state hard when they tried to rip that away.
I knew her best when she lived in the retirement home. She would chastise her friends for “just listening to whatever doctors told them”, instead of questioning their medical advice like she would do. “Why are they putting you on that medication? Can’t you just do X, Y, Z?” She was one of the people who checked on other residents to make sure they were OKAY each morning.
She was also secretly the gossip columnists for the retirement home, because she would get the scoop on everyone. When I worked at the retirement home restaurant, she would usually come to dinner on Sunday nights with seven or so other ladies. And if I ever mentioned my last name at the retirement home, people would ask me, “Are you Kay’s grandchild!?” and then get very excited when I said “Yes!”
She was extremely active with everything until she was about 93 I think. Then her age started to weigh her down — rapidly. She started falling a lot. She suddenly needed a walker. Then she couldn’t live alone as she had, and was moved into assisted living. This all happened within a span of two years, and then finally she died. I wish she died as she would have liked, but I know being bedridden her final years was hard on her fiery spirit.
I believe she was raised Protestant, but converted to Catholicism to marry my grandpa. My Grandpa Hackett died a year before I was born. He too served in the military — a Major in the US Army during World War II. I think he was at D-Day, but my memory of my dad’s stories aren’t the best. I wish I knew more about him. Maybe I’ll call my dad and ask about them both…
Anyways, thought I’d share them today on Memorial Day. I hope they are doing well wherever they are.