Grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
I remember seeing this framed on my grandparents' wall when I was a very young child. Interesting memory to recall; I want to remember it as being cross-stitched, my grandmother was a wonderful seamstress and handwork artist...she made me a dress once, Black and white woven checkered satin, with a red petticoat, and it was loaded with french knots...does anyone even remember what a french knot is? I wish I had just one piece of her handwork, the quilts she handstitched for our beds, etc., but my mother was a "modern" woman and not sentimental...
My grandfather drank and smoked (only did both after 6 pm) and my grandmother didn't smoke or drink. She died from lung cancer when I was in elementary school, in the third or fourth grade. My mother and I travelled on the train to Chicago, sleeping in our seats in coach...a wonderful memory that began my love of trains. I can still remember the nice train man telling me how to sleep to be comfortable: kneel on the floor and rest my head on my folded arms on the seat. I was young enough that it worked...can you imagine? Since the trip took 3 days it was great to get a good night's sleep!
At the funeral I remember looking down the aisle at the funeral home and seeing my grandmother in her coffin. I did not recognize her. She looked so unlike the grandmother I had known--the generous, loving buxom German woman who would hold me to her warm, loving chest and who cooked such wonderful Sunday meals for all the family. She was pale in her casket...and soooo thin...probably one of the reasons I avoid funerals to this day but enjoy memorials. It was quite traumatic for me...I remember wetting the bed at the relative's home we were staying at...a reaction to the stress, I'm sure, but how embarrassing for the young child I was
I think of all the years my handsome, tall and successful businessman grandfather smoked around his loving wife (He was so successful in his sales work that the Depression didn't touch them). She adored him...she was a widow when he married her...her first husband had been hit by the EL in Chicago...back then widows did not often remarry, but my grandfather chose her and she took excellent care of him and their home. She had the old-fashioned housewife schedule: Monday: Laundry, Tuesday: Ironing, Wednesday: Whatever...those traditions are long lost...
I believe she got cancer from his secondhand smoke. After she died, he never was the same. He died from a heart attack after marrying another woman, who my mother always said drove him to his grave with her "partying" lifestyle. I just know he never looks happy in photos after my grandmother died.
I don't think they even knew about "secondhand smoke" back then...and my grandfather was such a gentleman, who "controlled" his smoking until after he got off work, until he got home, to mix his Manhattan(s) and smoke his cigarettes, held in his elegant fingers--he had the most beautiful hands---and spend time with his loving wife...
Ahhh, memories...and this one I don't feel like smoking over.