Please welcome my Wednesday guest, Paula Gail Benson. A legislative attorney and former law librarian, Paula has published short stories in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable (http://bwgwritersroundtable.com/), Kings River Life (http://kingsriverlife.com/), Mystery Times Ten 2013 (Buddhapuss Ink), and A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder (Dark Oak Press and Media, released January 2014). Her latest, “Apple’s Lure,” will appear in the July/August 2014 issue of the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable. She regularly blogs with others about writing mysteries on Writers Who Kill, at http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com. Her personal blog is Little Sources of Joy at http://littlesourcesofjoy.blogspot.com, and her website is http://paulagailbenson.com. She’s looking forward to serving on the Steering Committee for the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and we're already getting great ideas from her.
That took me a moment to process.
I’m old enough to be a grandmother. I have cousins and friends who are grandmothers, and they love the experience. But I’ve never been married and have no children. Grandchildren are not on my horizon. At least not for myself.
The young man seemed so happy to have made the association. He smiled as if he really liked Stephanie’s grandmother.
I responded, “I’m sorry.” But, as soon as the words left my mouth, I wondered if I should have said “thank you”?
My father’s parents died before I was born. I grew up assuming that everyone had only one set of grandparents, not two or more. I remember my maternal grandmother as tall and slender with long white hair she kept in a bun. Because she had diabetes, she was fragile and not active. She loved watching daytime soap operas. Her beautiful maiden name was Leora Blankenship. I always thought I would use it as a pseudonym if I wrote romance novels.
When my mother was expecting me, my grandmother became ill and was hospitalized. Mother’s brother called to say she needed come home immediately, and Mother had to admit she couldn’t travel because she was pregnant. I’m told Grandmother’s health improved quickly when she learned of her impending fourth grandchild.
At birth, I was a preemie who spent time in an incubator before coming home. Grandmother insisted on making a long trip to visit me. When I was twelve, she passed away after two years as a widow. Although our time together was short, I still remember and feel the bond of her love.
Even though I’m not a grandmother, I’ve written about a grandmother figure in a short story, “Confidence
I have a dear friend who delights in sharing the world with her granddaughter. They have mutual interests and enthusiasms. My friend taught her granddaughter a lot about history and values. In return, her granddaughter lets my friend view the world through a young person’s eyes; helps program her TV and computer; and tells her which seemingly harmless words now have obscene slang connotations and should not be used in polite society.
After being mistaken for a grandmother, I began thinking about why that was a compliment. Here are my conclusions:
(1) Memories of grandmothers are usually positive images, reflecting a person’s home or heritage or something in which they take pride.
(2) Grandmothers are associated with wisdom, experience, and necessary background information not otherwise apparent or revealed by parents, especially those embarrassing moments from childhood that parents like to forget.
(3) Even if grandmothers are strong-willed, their aims are generally benevolent. Consider as examples the grandmother characters in two recent mystery novels, one who becomes a suspect in Shelley Costa’s You Cannoli Die Once and the other who becomes a murder victim in Susan M. Boyer’s Lowcountry Boil.
(4) While parents may be overwhelmed by work and keeping track of family members’ obligations, grandparents can be more relaxed. They have time to consider grandchildren as individuals, not just parts of the whole.
So, the next time a young person approaches me and asks if I’m someone’s grandmother, I hope I can say, “No, but I’ll bet that lady is pretty special.” That’s not patting myself on the back too much, is it?
A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder (Dark Oak Press and Media, January 2014)–anthology available from Dark Oak Press—“Ghost of a Chance”—Heck, a pirate first mate with a treacherous captain, spies a ghost ship following their vessel. Will the ghost ship prove to be Heck’s ultimate damnation or possible redemption?Mystery Times Ten 2013 (Buddhapuss Ink)–anthology available on Amazon—“Confidence in the Family”—In a contest between two con-artists, who will triumph in demonstrating their true family feelings?