Sunday, September 9, 2007

Grandparent's Day

On this day in history...

Columbus' fleet set sail westward in 1492.

The New England colonies declared war on Wampanoag Indians in 1675.

1st steam engine arrived in US colonies in 1753.

"The United Colonies" were renamed the "United States" by the Continental Congress in 1776.

California became 31st state in 1850 and they call today "Admission Day."

Orville Wright made the first 1-hr airplane flight at Fort Myer, VA in 1908.

National Broadcasting Company (NBC) was created by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1926. For all intents and purposes is still owned by the same company today since GE bought over RCA in 1986.

The Allies (US, British & French) landed at Salerno, Italy during what was called Operation Avalanche in 1943.

Allied forces liberate Luxembourg in 1944.

President Eisenhower signed the 1st civil rights bill since the Reconstruction era.

Today is Grandparent's Day.

I have to admit that I thought this was just another "Hallmark Holiday." It appears that National Grandparents Day was originated with Marian McQuade. She was a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day in 1978.

Again this is time to reflect. In our busy society it is too often that the elderly are relegated to the 'back seat' so to speak. This is a sad reflection of our culture and times. The Orient always revered their elderly. There used to be time, even in our country, when this was so. It was only 40-50 years ago that the family unit revolved about not only our immediate family (parents & children), but grandparents and great grandparents, if they were still alive.

Yes, there are family units that still believe in this value. I remember with my father's family, it always revolved around "Bubbe." This was my grandmother. It is a Yiddish expression for grandmother. I later came to know that her English name was Sarah.

Every year there was an annual picnic usually in June, that my mother used to help organize, at Biertemple Park in Union, NJ. We would rent the park & everyone would bring different foods. There used to be at least 70 people there. And everyone always went to greet Bubbe.

Each month there was also a family circle meeting at someone's house. These were always grand events with lots of socializing and minutes were taken just like at any business meeting. Granted, this was for our parents and the children mostly did not attend.

On holidays, we almost always visited my Aunt Mary & Uncle Max, because that is where Bubbe lived and Aunt Mary was her oldest child. Now, this was not a small family by any means. There were 11 children in all with my father being the next to last. I remember that he had cousins around his age if I'm not mistaken. Gosh, remembering all those names used to be quite a task. But we were together.

That was until a few years after Bubbe died and I have to admit that things feel apart. Yes, we saw each other at bar/bat mitzvahs & weddings & unfortunately funerals. But the family unit was not the same. Granted, this was about the time that we can see a change in the make up of the family structure. Around this time, more mothers were going out and getting jobs, they weren't staying home and being housewives.

My reason for bringing this up is twofold. Firstly, with every change there is both good and not so good. I don't want to call it bad, because I feel that is very incorrect term. Change is necessary, but sometimes in this instance, we lose touch with, in the long run, who we are and where we came from. They were our parents just as you are your childrens parents. Why do we not give the same values of that to our children? Why does it seem that the grandparent and more in general, the elderly are not revered. OK, I'm not saying put them on a pedestal, but surely don't just cast them aside.

It's funny, but I'm 53 and now that I've reached this point in my life, I'm also going to be in that group of people also. Surely, in lesser than time than anticipated. Granted, I don't feel old and surely don't act it also. I consider myself somewhat vibrant and full of life. But so are many older people.

Not to get gross, but I remember reading an article recently. I can't remember if it was the newspaper or AARP (yes, I'm a member), but it was about the elderly's sexual apetite & I was so surprised to see what they had to say and how sexually active they are.

We are living longer and many elderly have a lot to offer in the way of knowledge, experience and wisdom. They've learned a lot of life's lessons and can probably also teach us a lot of their business acumen.

So, please think twice when you see an elderly person or address them. Think of the many lonely elderly out there. That is a very sad thing and a sad testament to our day and age. I'm glad Marian McQuade thought of Grandparent's Day.

Happy Grandparent's Day to the many grandparents out there.

Til tomorrow....Marc It Sold!

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