Posted on | January 9, 2011 | 1 Comment
Since I am the audio and video expert in my family, I usually and the recipient of all old recordings of people in my family so that I can transfer analog content to a digital format. One of the recent projects that I had was some recordings of my Grandma made in 1995 that were on cassette tape. I have come to refer to them as The Odessa Tapes. She died in May of 2001 so it has been a great project for me to hear her voice again. As I have proofed the recordings that I made, I realized that there are things that she has taught me that are powerful lessons in my life.
1. No matter how hopeless things may seem, change always comes for the better.
My grandma was born in 1918, so when the depression hit in 1929, she was just becoming a young woman. While the depression was a terrible time for most people, she reported that her parents had things better off than most. They lived in a rural town and grew all their own food, so they never went hungry. Even though money was tight, it was tight for everyone, and that’s just how it was. But even though the depression lasted the entire decade of the 30’s, things turned around in the 40’s quite substantially. In my own lifetime, I remember that my town had a time during the 70’s when growth was at a standstill. Even though I was only a kid then, I was old enough to remember when life got a lot better for our town in the 80’s.
2. Age doesn’t change who we are.
When I was a kid, my grandparents were all really old, and I thought that I couldn’t relate to them at all. However, my grandma tells a story with a bit of embarrassment that she wanted some candy from the store but she didn’t have any money. She decided that she would take some eggs from the chicken coop and trade them for the candy. The only problem was that she had to walk past her mothers window. So she decided to hide the eggs in her bloomers. When she tried to jump the irrigation ditch, she fell and smashed all the eggs.
It is a story I am pretty familiar with, since it is virtually legend in our family. I realized as I was listening to the old recordings that my grandma was a normal human being, and that I had grown up with her we would likely be friends.
3. She loved God and it made her life exceptional
My Grandma was a pretty religious person, but that didn’t mean she forced us to be religious. It wasn’t in her nature. The lesson in this case was taught be example, and she demonstrated to me better than any other person, why it is important to recognize our relationship with God and how much better our lives are when we align ourselves to Him. As people, I think we tend to want to make God into something that we like, instead of truly finding out who He is, and making ourselves into what God wants for us.
4. Our ancestors were much more intelligent than we give them credit for
I think sometimes that we have a tenancy to think with all our technology that we must have been so much smarter than those who came before. This is a characteristic of selfish people who are enjoying the progress that was made long before them. My experience with The Odessa Tapes is that our grandparents, and their grandparents before them had very keen minds and a great amount of intelligence. Just because they didn’t have iPods and laptop computers doesn’t mean they didn’t understand how they worked, they just didn’t have the technology to implement the knowledge that they had.
5. Don’t dis the progress we have made
One cliché that is popular in modern culture is to go back to the simpler ways of old and get rid of the advancement that our society has made. This is born out of the observation that our lives a complicated and the only way to resolve it is to go backwards. I think what we fail to understand is that our grandparents were always trying to improve their lives with new tools and better methods. In The Odessa Tapes, my grandma was very clear about how much their lives were better when new technology became available. She talked of how great it was to have a radio and how marvelous it was
I’m sure that there are other lessons that my Grandma taught me, but I will save those for another day. For now, I will end by saying how much better my life has been because of my Grandma’s influence and I miss her sometimes quite dearly.
I love you Grandma, and thanks for everything.