Friday, 1 February 2013

Another Belated Apology



Sometimes the reading of a little golden nugget of a blog post will spark a long distant memory of one's own. This is the joy of having such an eclectic library at the end of your fingertips.
This morning Cro's  Meanderings (http://magnonsmeanderings.blogspot.com/  ) told a rather bittersweet story which outlined a tiny moment in time when he suddenly matured as a young man.
And this rather gentle post reminded me of a painful growing up moment of my own from when I was a boy of around eight
When I was little, it was acceptable that housewives like my mother had a little help at home .My grandmother called up three times a week during the holidays and she would cook, clean , iron the clothes and provide a steady humorous environment for her bored grandchildren and her naturally anxious daughter.
When my sister and I was having lunch with my mother and grandmother one day, something rather funny struck me about this ' arrangement' and feeling rather pompous I chirped up at the table
" when Gran comes here she always gets all of her dinners for free"
I didn't get a reaction to what I thought was a clever comment so like a little smart arse I repeated myself several times , that was until my mother very quietly said
"That's not a very nice thing to say"
By that time, like most little boys with questionable social skills, I had already dug the hole and jumped into it, so as I was incessantly chipping "why? Why?" I was suddenly stopped by my twin sister who was looking at my grandmother.
I followed her gaze and was suddenly quietend when I saw a quiet hurt on my grandmother's face. She said nothing, but with her eyes never leaving her plate she silently and carefully ate her lunch with care and precision..
I think I learnt more about life in that one second than I ever had done in all of my eight years on this planet.
To this day, some forty two years later, I still remember my regret and shame at this silly little remark as if it only happened yesterday.
The quiet dignity of my grandmothers behaviour  and  the sad shame and uncharacteristic calmness shown by my mother at that dinner table will always be with me.





53 comments:

  1. Strange how these things come back to haunt us.

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  2. Strange indeed my friend

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  3. Such a beautiful story…that little boy was just that a little boy, but the memory helped mold him into a fine young man.

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  4. Replies
    1. More. Than anything in the world

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  5. You've just reminded me of an incident with my Nan that still vividly sticks out in my memory fifty years later. Thanks!

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  6. Times like these seem to stick to a brain cell and magnify themselves from time to time. I wonder why?

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    1. I think that they are pivotal in shaping who we are

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  7. It's amazing how a small incident that happened long ago can be filed away in our memory and kept with us for a lifetime. Often, the best lessons learned are the ones we teach ourselves.

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    1. I repeat the. Above moment reply jon

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  8. That reminds me of that Country and Western tune, 'No Charge'.

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    1. I will look for it tom

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    2. Nice one - Jack@ will be thrilled.

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  9. I too can remember putting my foot in it many a time as a child. I recall that awful feeling when you know you have said something really stupid and hurtful, thinking you were being really clever, made even more poignant if the unlucky recipient reacts graciously.

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  10. I wish I could say that my unintentional stupidities were confined to childhood. I'm one of those clumsy people that way too often have a foot in mouth. Your grandmother looks like a wonderful lady. I can see a very clear family resemblance. Hope that isn't foot in mouth. I don't mean that you (or Russell Crow) looks like a grandmother. I mean that the same genes shine through regardless of age.

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    1. She had Abigail heart heda

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  11. I said some stupid, tactless things as a boy...we all do. The memory of them is what keeps us all more civilised as we get older...even if we slip up now and again even when we have wrinkles and grey hair...

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  12. I think modern families are the poorer for not having the family support system that was in place when we were growing up, when families lived in adjacent streets, Grandmas would always be on hand as well as several aunties to muck in and provide extra cuddles.

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    1. I so agree kath

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    2. I grew up with my mom and dad as well as my maternal grandpa aka Pas.

      What a terrific childhood. Loved him to bits.

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  13. Beautiful post Jon, thanks.

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  14. Strange how things just spring into your mind. I hope it hasn't troubled you too much. Take care. xx

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    1. No, not troubled... Just thoughtful

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  15. I say it all the time...the one thing that gets me in more trouble and causes more sorrow than anything in my life is my mouth. Just when I think I've got it quieted, it opens up and says something shameful. Here's a thought... Have you ever known a Grandmother that hasn't forgiven a grandchild instantly, whether they heard an apology or not. Tis True John, Grandmothers LOVE LOVE LOVE their grandchildren. So no worries, you were forgiven.

    Cindy Bee

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    1. I think that's why it hurt so much cindy

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  16. I think we all had moments like that that stay fresh in our minds throughout life. Your grandmother might have felt bad for a moment but like all 'grannies' she would have very quickly put it down to a silly thought and comment of a child who had not lived much and was quite innocent. I'm sure you were forgiven within minutes (in her mind).

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  17. She looks a sweet lady John and I'm sure she took it in stride having raised a brood herself she would have heard it all. I have an eight year old boy right now and he doesn't realize some of the things he says out of cleverness might be hurtful...we parents have to enlighten. if your good mother had never spoken up you might not have known. A great lesson for a wee boy though, which makes you realize exactly how much those young experiences shape the later human.

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    1. It must be. A huge responsibility raising a child.... It boggles my mind

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  18. What wonderfully wise women you had in your life, John. Shows what a strong character you have that you actually "grew up" in that respect at that early age. I wish I could say that as an adult I've not been tactless. So good on you for apologizing all these years later. Have a great weekend. Jo

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  19. My Mother delights in bringing up these stories.Enough said.
    Jane x

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  20. I've rarely met an empathetic child at that age, and particularly boys, so I don't think you're alone!

    John, I have a proposition for you....reading your comment on my drawing post reminded me firstly, I need dog models and, secondly, that I should really veer in the direction of pet portraiture as a possible commercial enterprise. So, would you consider letting me draw one of your dogs (I would suggest George to start with)? You can have the original if I can scan it and try (and probably fail) to sell a print or two and perhaps give me a little plug on your blog? I would need a selection of high res files of him in engaging positions and angles. Anyway...I'll leave that with you and if you agree, send me some George related stuff to emparko@gmail.com. x

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    1. Em
      That would be lovely....
      I will take a few photos as soon as the dogs get their haircuts.... Boy....that would be lovely thank you so much x

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    2. You're welcome. going round taking surreptitious reference photos of strangers' dogs is never a good idea so we'll be doing each other a favour! x

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  21. Isn't it amazing how one moment of insensitivity can become a positive and life-changing event...

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  22. How frank and uninhibited children are before they learn to guard their tongue a bit. Like you, I came up with similar totally tactless remarks when I was small. Indeed, your grandmother gave you an exemplary lesson in unruffled dignity in the face of such insubordination!

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  23. And even though they forgive us our thoughtlessness, we have such a hard time forgiving ourselves.

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  24. Yep, a similar story from me too, my maternal grandma was Irish, a devout Catholic, she came to England & married my grandad who disagreed with religion and prevented her from bringing up their two daughters in the Catholic church.

    So when I was around 11 or so and every time we visited her house she'd ask if she could walk with us to the bus stop as we passed her church on the way and maybe she could take me and my brother into the church to light a candle for our grandad ?

    My mother always refused to let her, but once she agreed when I said I'd like to go, then when we got to the gate I changed my mind, she was hurt by that and ten minutes later when we passed on the bus she was leaving the church and looking like a frail old lady for the first time.

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    1. It sounds as though we have all been touched by this sort of shame... Perhaps it is a normal growing up thing... Thanks for sharing jerry

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  25. I believe at life's end and our life passes before our eyes, it will be the memories of the pain and hurt that we have caused others.

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  26. We've all had those moments; I recall saying something that caused my mother to turn away with tears in her eyes, and I didn't know how to undo it. In a life cycle moment, I tried very hard to make my grandson realize he must stop mocking his cousin on a point about which he felt superior. He wouldn't take the quiet reasoning, so I rebuked him sharply. My heart felt the abyss he sank into as ne realized how he had humiliated his cousin.

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  27. When you become a Grandmother, you learn to grow a very thick skin, trust me. Your Gran probably related that story many times over and each time I bet she said 'and do you know what the cheeky little bugger said to me'! and laughed about it with all her heart.

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  28. John, I think we'd have to scour the whole world with a toothbrush before we found someone who hadn't got one of these stories in their cupboard. Not everyone admits them though. I was rude and ungrateful most vocally to my dad aged five aged 46 I still cringe. My dad just laughs at me, he can't even remember, but I'll never forget or do it again.

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  29. well thanks, John, now you sparked in me a memory that stings my cheeks with shame...pretty soon there will be a whole bunch of us bloggers remembering painful lessons learned...what a circle of life group we are...sigh.

    but i agree with Cindy Bee - we are forgiven - many times over, thats how far a mothers/grandmothers love goes...i speak with experience with my own...

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    1. We are all really the same old gal...are we not?

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  30. Yes, lessons learned...
    My very best friend's mum owned a fish and chip shop. Caroline (my friend) always carried that odor on her clothes, it couldn't be avoided no matter how much perfume-scented washing powder her mum tried.
    People didn't like to share desks with her, it didn't bother me.
    She spent the night with me one night, and I asked her to sleep in the spare bed, she asked why, and I told her she smelled like fish and chips :(
    I shall NEVER forget how much it hurt her, she packed her clothes and I walked her home, in the middle of the night....
    Seven years old the pair of us, and to this day, I will never say a rude and cruel remark, truth or not..
    Your gran was a wonderful, kind and humble lady John :)
    ~Jo

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    1. Jo.
      Another bitter sweet memory eh? There are a lot f them around tonight x

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  31. A remark made without malice but painful all the same...I believe we all have a few of those memories etched into our brains.

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  32. Have a good weekend, John. *hugs* ♥

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  33. Leslie6:46 pm

    Oh Lord...to find out I'm not the only one still carrying around guilt from decades ago regarding those I love dearly.
    As others have said...you certainly are a dear credit to your family and you share with so many. Thank you.

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