The Importance Of Family In Our Lives
by Larry Turner

There is a product on the market that encourages a friend or family member to purchase it and gift it to someone. The recipient is then encouraged to write a story periodically and provides suggested storylines, usually about family or themselves. The stories are then sent electronically to people designated by the writer and, at the end of a year, a collection of the stories is bound in a book and returned to the writer. Of course, the writer can purchase copies for distribution to whoever they choose. This is a very creative business concept and tweaked my curiosity, especially when my daughter sent me the product for a special occasion.

The list of possible stories was interesting. One that I quickly dismissed was “How Would You Describe Your Grandparents.” But the more I tried to forget it, the more it wore on my mind. For me that’s not unusual because I am a sporadic and spontaneous writer. I don’t write about something because someone suggests the subject; I write about something because it jumps up in my mind and won’t let go until I address it on paper or a screen. That doesn’t happen very often, but when it does I cannot relax until the writing is complete.

The reason this subject bit me is because I never knew or even met my grandparents. The result was that during my early years I didn’t really understand what a grandparent was in real life, I didn’t understand other family ties like nieces and nephews or cousins, and I didn’t know what it would be like to be able to approach someone for advice about how to deal with my mother or father. Most of all, I came to realize the importance of a family beyond my sister and mom and dad.

I could not then or now even begin to comprehend why my parents kept their parents a secret from my sister and me. My only recollections of conversation about my grandparents was once my mother received a phone call during dinner and was visibly upset by what she heard. We somehow knew her father had died, but I cannot explain how. And my father once disclosed that his father worked in a piano factory during the day and, at night, was one of the few musicians in a local band who had taught himself how to play wind instruments. He also once dropped a reference to his mother and how she suffered from early-stage dementia, not always recognizing him as her son when he would visit her at her home in Norwalk, Ohio when returning from a business trip and before coming home to his family in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, north of Detroit.

My response to the suggested storyline, therefore, is that I would have loved to be able to describe my grandparents but was never in a position to do so. That has made me ever so envious of those who grew up with their grandparents and were able to revel in that family tie throughout their lives.