Seventy years ago, in November 1942, my dear grandparents got married. This is an amazing achievement. Unfortunately as the registry was done during the war, and their paperwork appears many years lost, they don’t remember the exact date. War being war, I joked with my dad the other day- was he entirely certain he and his brothers are not ‘illegitimate’?
My grandparents are still here, still together and still enjoying each other’s company in the Aged Care home, where there are precious few surviving couples. As such, they are the lucky tenants of a double end-room, with a view of the South and the East. She is turning 89 in a couple of weeks. He is 93. What a pair.
My father brought them to Mr13’s Big Fat Barbecue and they enjoyed themselves immensely. Until my dad took my grandfather to the toilet and my grandmother lost the plot. He is not allowed out of her sight any more, because when she can’t see him, she no longer knows which way is up. She started wandering onto the street from the park. I brought her back and implored her to sit until he returned. When your compass of everything is dependent upon the sight of one person, it can be tricky.
I rang them today to say hello. I always make sure I can call them from somewhere I can shout and repeat. And shout and repeat.
Grandfather Z: (thick Euro accent): HellOOOO Dahlink! How are you? I’m good, I’m good. I had a temperature last week but I am better now. How’s (husband)?
Me: He’s fine.
Grandfather: Where is he?
Me: At work.
Z: How are the kids?
Me: Same, same, still trouble. All fine. What’s new?
Z: Your Dad told me about the house. HOW LONG?? It’s terrible! Terrible! You have to finish it!
Me: And you’ll just have to keep living long enough to see that day. Like me!
Z: And how’s (husband)? Beautiful boy. Beautiful.
Me: He’s fine. He’s at work. He’s your favourite, isn’t he?
Z: Beautiful boy, he is. Beautiful.
Me: Who’s grandfather are you? I know who your favourite is.
Z: Nothing wrong…
Me: May I remind you (once again) he didn’t do too badly with me either, now did he?
Z: True. Your (grandmother) had to go to the Eye and Ear hospital, but she’s ok.
Z: I can’t remember.
Me: Eyes or ears?
Z: I give you the phone. (Argh, don’t- she’ll only ask you why she went there…)
Grandma B: Hi (Pet name), nice to hear from you, when will you come to see me?
Me: Soon. I hear you went to the Eye and Ear Hospital?
B: Ah, yes. (shouts) Z: why did I go to the Eye and Ear hospital?
Z: I don’t know.
B: I don’t know. Drops or something. Everything’s ok. And how’s (husband)?
Me: Good. The same, you know, busy, working.
B: How are the kiddies?
B: …And how’s (husband)?
B: Please come see me soon, and don’t forget to tell the kids we called.
Me: Um, ok, I called…
B: Ok, ha ha, bye.
Same time next week: same conversation. Shout and repeat. Shout, and repeat.
I do adore them.