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comment by lil

My dad died when I was 16 and he was 43, so there's tons of things I wish I could ask him -- about growing up in NYC, about WW2 and getting his foot blown off, about his determination to recover and work on social justice and human rights issues. Damn that death thing.

My mom is still around, so I've talked to her about a lot of things. There's a little window of opportunity -- maybe a couple of years -- when an older person becomes willing to tell private stuff but before they forget it all. Catch that window if you can. The self-editing brain cells go first and some of the inhibitions shake loose.

But some things are still too painful. I knew my mother skipped classes for a semester at university to care for her dying mother. Her girlfriends brought her all their notes and she somehow managed to pass. I wanted to know more about that time, what it was like, but didn't get very far. I got the feeling that it was a terrible terrible time for her and she didn't want to go there.

tng -- it is so amazing that your parents got you fixed up into the handsome guy you are now with the singing voice!

thenewgreen  ·  2886 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Whenever I play ping pong I think of you and your relationship to your father. I'm sorry you lost him when you were so young. Whatever he did regarding raising you, he seems to have done well. You are a helluva gal miss Beautiful Awesome Person.

I will be spending some time with my grandparents this weekend and intend to have some in depth conversations about them, their youth and the roles they played in mine.

nowaypablo  ·  2886 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My mother's grandfather was a tank commander for the Soviets, got his leg blown off too[!]. He died shortly after. It was a time when my mom lived with 9 people (three families, no fathers) in a one-bedroom apartment, on the 10th floor of a building that got electricity for 90 minutes a day. She was studying at uni meanwhile, and she would come home and pick up buckets of water on her way up for cleaning, cooking, and bathing everyone. She graduated at the top of her class-- of like a dozen people, but still. I don't understand or comprehend any fraction of the strength it took to do that, so thank you for reminding me because it's pretty humbling to look at how far she brought herself (and me!) compared to where she started.

I guess I'd like to go takesies-backsies on my pretentious and sorta snotty question from before, and ask instead:

"How do the experiences from those difficult times carry you forward through present-day struggles? Do you feel that it was an invaluable set of lessons learned and strength built, or just a dark time you'd rather forget? Do you think I could benefit from learning what it means to live like that compared to my current lifestyle (which has running water, for example)?"

lil  ·  2886 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Why are you afraid to let me fail?
no don't take that question back... but you might want to frame it in the positive: Why do you want me to do well in everything I do?

The answer might be "When I was your age I had to carry water up to the tenth floor of a building. Poverty sucks and poverty and totalitarianism suck worse. I want you to have the tools for success and freedom."

Your question #2 is a good one too.