This I Believe

Evan - Falmouth, Maine
Entered on September 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, gratitude

I believe that teenagers need to spend a day with their grandparents.

I think it really clicked when I was eighteen. I had just started my first year of a University in a different country and I was meeting new people, not remembering a single name. Once I finally narrowed my wide ocean of acquaintances to a small circle of close friends I realized something very odd. Very few, if any, knew all of their grandparents. Many had died before they were born or when they were very young, leaving them with memories that had holes filled only by the occasional yellowed photo. This seemed wrong.

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to get to know all four of my grandparents. And today, at twenty-two, they are all still alive. My father’s parents live in Florida, and as a result we only see them every other Christmas or so. They’ll travel up to Maine, where I return to every December, stay for a week and then move on to New Hampshire to visit one of my father’s eight siblings. I have to admit I’m not particularly close with my paternal grandparents. I’m a little ashamed to say that, to be honest. Perhaps it was because growing up, they lived in New Jersey while we hopped back and forth between Maine and Tennessee. Now, back in Maine (thank the stars!) we live only an hour and a half from my maternal grandparents, who we have spent every Christmas with since I can remember.

My Nanna taught me every card game I know. She’s wicked when it comes to Cribbage, taking no shame in stealing every single point I missed. She buys the most cards in Liverpool Rummy, so perhaps that’s where I get it. She tried to teach me bridge once. I got frustrated and swore never to play the game again. She taught us 49’s, Sequence, and she taught me Solitaire, a game I can never grow old of.

My Grampy taught me how to play tennis. He began my entire family’s love of the game of soccer. And every time he tells us the story of how he courted my Nanna, it seems like he’s reliving it himself. I love my grandparents, all four of them, more than I could ever say. I can’t even fathom how lucky I am to have all four of them still with me. My Grampy is one of the smartest people I know, and my Nanna is by far the best cook (sorry, Mom and Dad). I believe that grandparents are treasures and should be treated as such. I have learned through my friends that anyone whose grandma, grandpa, bubbie, zadie, nonna, or nonno are still with them have a precious link to who they are and where they come from and should learn everything they can while they have the chance.