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My Grandfather


It’s weird how one thing can change your life forever- sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. In that single moment everything around you is different, whether it is how you live your life, or the even the way you look at things.

I never believed that would happen to me. Here I am an average teenager living in a bubble, where supposedly nothing can hurt me. Well, that was when I was naive. Before this past summer, I would have told you that I wasn’t interested in history. It was just something that happened that should stay in the past. What do I care that a carton of milk was 10 cents, or that gas prices were less than half of what they are today? We live in the now, so it doesn’t really affect our lives.

Well, something did affect my life one day when I sat down on the couch with my grandfather. I went for a visit to Florida to spend some time with my grandparents. One night when my grandma went to bed early, my grandpa and I took out chocolate covered graham crackers and sat on the couch next to me. He began talking about what it was like when he was my age. I couldn’t imagine what he looked like - this man whom I admire so much sitting next to me. His hair had turned grey before I was born - probably from my mother. The wrinkles on his skin signify all he’s been through. Could I even imagine him as a boy, an innocent boy? I couldn’t at the time.

As he started to talk to me, the picture began to form. He told me about how when he was little he and his friend had a shoe shining business, charging only about 10 cents a person. That was during the Depression, 10 cents was a lot of money. A big smile formed on his old face as he explained how excited he had gotten when someone gave him a dollar. “Children these days don’t know the value of a dollar,” he would tell me, and I agreed with him. He was right. Today what can we really buy with a dollar? Maybe we can buy one pack of gum. What is a dollar really worth to us? To my grandpa it was a loaf of bread for a nickel, 2 pieces of gum for a penny, even a whole meal for a nickel in New York, if you know the right place to go. Imagine that, a whole meal for a nickel!

That conversation took me out of my bubble. It now made sense to me. This world was changing before our eyes, before his eyes. A couple of times throughout his story, he asked me, “I’m not boring you, am I?” I kept shaking my head ‘no.’ He was doing everything but. The whole time I was intrigued by his stories. I even laughed a couple of times when he told me he had gotten in trouble when his mother found out what kind of business he was running. She forbade him not to do it again, but of course, my rebel grandfather always did. Even back then, when someone told you not to do it, it made you want to do it more. Some things still have not changed.

We talked for an hour about how different it was when he was my age. Words could not explain how much I appreciated my grandpa sharing those stories with me. This is something I will always take with me throughout my life. My grandpa made me understand that kids will always be kids and that he was once a kid like me. He made me want to know more about what it was like when he was young and I started thinking about what I might be like when I get older. Most importantly, he made me realize that with each passing day we are creating history and I want to know more about my family’s history. I hope my children and grandchildren will want to know about mine some day. Who knew that history is anything but boring?



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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

lightinyoureyes said...
Feb. 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm
thank you for your beautiful story!
my grandfathers both passed away two years ago, and i always wish i had gotten the chance to talk to them more about their childhoods. your story really touched me, and it really made me smile. great writing too.

from new york :-)
 
steph said...
Feb. 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm
Marisa you are amazing! :) this is a really great piece. i admire your work. you are the best! good luck future writing!your amazing again. ok bye bye!
 
Jhub said...
Feb. 6, 2009 at 3:28 am
Great story. Your grandfather sounds like an interesting person
 
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