Anyway, as I was saying, my grandmother is a remarkable woman. She's stubborn and independent and very sharp. She's not an easy person for many to understand, being an ISTJ, and women thinkers are kind of regarded as an odd minority among women (as are F men). At any rate, I understand her, and I've always admired her. Her personality is like my dad's, who is also an ISTJ, a fact that often annoys her daughter, my mother, who, as an ENFP, and their diametric opposite, has relations of conflict with them. Granny comes from a large family. Also like my father, she comes from a family of fourteen siblings, and when she had started the eighth grade, after attending only three days, she had to quit to help take care of her younger brothers and sisters. My great grandmother ran a hotel and needed all the help she could get. Nevertheless, to talk to my Granny, you'd never know that of her. Today the schools graduate illiterates with twelve years of schooling under their belts. She speaks and writes like someone whose had much more education than she has. Much of it is self-taught.
When they were younger, my grandfather once took her to a poker game. He was losing, and eventually he became too drunk to play. My Gran was unwilling to go home as far behind and down so much money as my grandfather was, so she sat down at the table and took my grandfather's place -- my grandfather's table-mates encouraged her, apparently thinking her an easy mark, -- and she won big. I've always loved that story. She has a lot of them, and they are fascinating. She lives in a big old modified duplex which has been "un-duplexed" and which has been in the family for at least three generations now. It was built in 1890, and is featured, with a picture even, in a book detailing the history of Chillicothe. It would go for around $150K in my home town, but out here in the Bay Area it could conceivably be worth a million, depending upon the location. That's one of the few drawbacks to California -- unaffordable housing. She'd flip if she ever came out here to visit and I showed her some of the houses and what they're going for here. She was talking about doing that this evening. It would be good to see her back on her feet, but I don't really think that's going to happen now, and it saddens me. I worry that she'll pass away before I get a chance to visit with her again. One of her sisters died at 92 just this last December. Fortunately, that line of the family is very long-lived. Her mother lived to be 101, and was also a very remarkable person. My great-grandmother told me about going down to the train station to see the first automobile brought into town on a flatcar. The purchaser was a doctor.
My grandmother used to smoke like a fiend. Apparently, she has cut back a bit now, probably because her lungs can't really cut it anymore. Frankly, I don't know why anyone bothers with that habit at all. It seems like so many adverse effects for so little payoff, but still she smokes Winston’s, even after the strokes. It was surprising that the first one didn't bring her down. The first one she had left her unable to walk and made speaking very problematical. To the amazement of her doctors, who said that she would be six months learning to walk again, she was back on her feet in six weeks. She also got her speech under control again. That's pretty much still fine, even after the second stroke. Who knows, maybe she will get back on her feet. She's just been off of them for so long though. I don't know. I do know that she really would like to come out here and visit me. I don't think being old much agrees with the woman. She once told me that I should avoid getting old. I pointed out that I didn't much like the alternative.
We spent a good bit of time on the phone tonight. She told me that my cousin's fiancée is a very quiet kind of guy, and she filled me in on what's going on with various and sundry other relatives. She also told me that she's having two of the large spruce trees growing in the front yard removed. I told her to have my mother take some pictures before they were removed as those trees have been there as long as I have been alive, and I am interested in seeing how large they have become since I saw them last. Hmm, I've got to send her some pictures of my house, and the new house as well. She'd get a kick out of seeing those. We did a bit of talking about houses, comparing the ones built today with the one in which she's living. She pointed out all of the changes which she and my grandfather had done to the house over the years. They tore out the stone hearth fireplace in the living room and replaced it with a limestone block one. When they did, they found an 1890 dime embedded in the mortar. My mom's brother, then a child, found the dime where my grandfather had left it and spent it on candy. Heh heh.
I've really got to get back to Ohio, sometime soon. I really do miss being able to see my grandmother whenever I want. I suppose I should be counting myself lucky to still have one at forty years old, but still, I really do want to visit again. I've got to look into that.