Friday, August 31, 2007

Caring for Our Grandparents

This may be more of an "old fashioned" memory than a Southern memory. I'm not sure! When I was a little girl, my mom used to sometimes take my great grandmothers to the grocery store. We used to visit them several times during the week and do little things to help them. Neither drove, so we would take them places. One of my great grandmothers used to babysit me from time to time. I have good early memories of knowing my great grandmothers and having a special closeness with aging family members. I felt awe and honor towards my aging relatives. We took care of them, and they in turn helped us. They cooked delicious old fashioned meals for me and told me stories that I never want to forget.

I feel that this is such a contrast to how things are today. It seems that growing old is looked down upon. At one time elderly people were so loved and revered. Maybe part of it is that families used to stay in the same area of the country. We lived one mile away from one great grandmother, and probably ten miles away from the other. Before we moved away from my home state, my hubby and I used to spend a lot of time with my paternal grandmother. When we moved away, she used to write long lonely letters to me because her children who lived nearby did not visit her enough. Some of her letters broke my heart and made me feel sad that I moved so far away.

I know that we are a busy generation of people who are always on the go, but it's so very sad that so many of our elderly people are so lonely and left behind. In my job, I get many elderly customers who call with a question. Many times, they are lonely and want someone to talk to and will not let me end the call. It's so important to listen to the oral histories of the way things used to be. We have so much to learn from aging people who have experienced so many of life's battles.

I've been thinking about this issue especially because I think that many people see growing old as such a negative thing. Youth is revered and people want to cling to it. People don't want to grow old. Many want to have surgery so that they can look young forever. It's interesting that there are so many wonderful health opportunities that can extend a person's life span, but nobody really wants to be old even though we want to live a long time. There's the irony!

These are some special things that I learned from my great grandmothers.

1. How to make the best meatloaf by adding vegetable soup. :)
2. How to be especially sweet to little kids.
3. How to enjoy life at any age.
4. How to show others your love through actions.
5. The importance of family.

And a little poem...
I Can't Be Young Forever
Will you know me when I grow old?

When all my long chocolate strands of hair turn gray
And my smile is toothless?
When my children have grown up and moved away
And the wrinkles on my face and hands have deepened.
My soul will still be my own
Alive within the aging girl.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Southern Celebrity Sunday is back!

Featuring Elvis...Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I like Elvis. I also share two things in common with him. He was born in Mississippi and then his family later moved to Tennessee. Me too! Although, I was just under a year old when we moved to Tennessee. Elvis was 12 or 13. I'll share only a few things about Elvis, and I have a couple of questions for you to think about.

What is your favorite Elvis movie? Mine is "Viva Las Vegas"
What is your favorite Elvis song? I like almost all of them, but especially like "Suspicious Minds" for some reason.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I once read that Elvis always wanted to have more serious roles in movies rather than continue making the chick flick movies that seemed to get sillier and sillier. Try watching "King Creole". He has a serious role in that movie. The role was originally written for James Dean, but he died and Elvis got the part. It really is a more serious movie that will surprise you despite the picture on the DVD cover of Elvis with the Banana Girl.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Elvis is such an icon and there are so many stories about him especially focusing on his extramarital affairs and drug use. You've got to read this interview done in 2003 with Elvis' younger half brother David Stanley. It really paints a clearer picture of Elvis as a person and his role as a big brother/father figure. David Stanley used to be a preacher, and I heard him speak when I was a young girl. I don't remember too much about it except that he seemed quite negative towards Elvis back then. Now he has changed and really talks about his special relationship with Elvis in a very positive way.

I just found this web site about a local store and small museum near us here in Maryland. There's an Elvis store in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania called "The Kin of Rock and Roll" featuring Elvis memorabilia and historical information about Elvis' ancestors who fought in Gettysburg during the civil war! Isn't that funny? I think there might be a little Elvis worship going on there. The next time we go to visit Gettysburg, I think that I'll have to stop by this store! What a hoot! Check it out.

The one thing that I don't like so much about all the Elvis hoopla today is that a lot of money is being made off of a deceased person. That's a bit sad in some ways. Then there's the dorky Elvis impersonators. Maybe it would be OK if you were a good Elvis impersonator, but I saw some extremely ugly pictures of some of the impersonators who converged upon Graceland last week. I know that during the white jumpsuit era of Elvis' life, he got a bit chubby in the middle and grew those mutton chop sideburns, but he never seemed corny or gross.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

After forcing you to look at that picture, I'll leave you with some pictures of Elvis during his final performance. Take care, and I hope that you've enjoyed my grand reappearance on my Southern blog. Thank ya very much!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket