I’ve always had trouble getting to know my grandparents because they don’t speak English. And now I only have one left. But I’m going to make a better effort to get to know my grandmother, because everyone has a story that deserves to be heard. I’ll try to learn more of the language she speaks but I’m honestly afraid that’ll take so much time that she won’t even be alive by the time I learn the basics. I think it’s probably a better idea to get my mom or one of my friends to translate.
I was watching Master of None on Netflix and Season 1 Episode 8 was about old people. The grandparents of two characters had very interesting stories. Let’s start with the grandfather. He fought in the Korean War. Now he and some other soldiers were parachuting into the war zone but it was so windy that the soldiers didn’t land where they intended to, they got blown all over the place. Now the grandfather got stuck in a tree. There were so many branches that he couldn’t really move. He wanted to cut himself free but he dropped his knife. And then he sees a group of four enemy soldiers coming towards him.
Now the grandfather’s trying not to make a sound, even though the enemy is right below him. And then one of the enemy soldiers bends down and picks up the grandfather’s knife. He realizes he only has mere seconds before the enemy looks up and sees him there. So he pulled out his gun and fired at them. Then he shot some of the branches that he was stuck in and managed to climb down the tree. When he got to the ground he saw that one of the enemy soldiers was still alive. But the grandfather didn’t have any bullets left… so he killed the last soldier by smashing the butt of his gun on the soldier’s head.
Such a happy ending! Let’s move on to the second story, the grandmother. Here’s how she got married: some boy in her neighborhood walked up to her and said, “You’re beautiful. I’m going to marry you.” That’s it. So simple. Then she had children with him and when those children grew up they put her in a retirement home because they were worried she couldn’t take care of herself when she slipped and fell that one time. She hates it at the retirement home. They don’t let her go out unless a family member takes her out, and her family doesn’t visit her as often as she would like.
Now in the early days of her marriage, before she had kids, she stole a car. She was walking on the street and saw a man rush into some furniture store. This man left his car running, and she just felt like getting in and driving… so she did. The car was a convertible and decades later she still remembered the wind on her face. For the first time she felt like she could go anywhere and do anything.
But then the car started making weird noises and the hood started smoking. She thought about calling her brother who was a mechanic but he’d just be mad at her for being a thief. So she just stopped the car in some random neighborhood and got out and took the bus home. When she got home she resumed her normal life: she cleaned the house and cooked dinner. Her husband never even knew what she’d done.
As you can see, old people have some fascinating stories. Probably not as dramatic as these two examples, but worthwhile nonetheless. Hell, even if the stories are boring, just listen anyway because old people tend to be lonely and like I said at the beginning of this post, everyone deserves to be heard.