Shining a Light on Grandma

Looking at the historic, social, and family issues of the contemporary grandmother experience.

‘Grandmothers are not just for Christmas.’

Here I am, wearing my grandmother’s Cornish Serpentine beads 2019
They were bought in the 1900s when the London side of Mum’s family were on holiday at The Lizard. 

When my parents were in their eighties, my husband Chris and I, took them on holidays, to places we knew would intrigue them. They were farmers and had always been interested in local heritage, family histories and the industrial archaeology of Cornwall where they lived.  I remember excursions from my childhood, that would typically involve a holy well, a moorland stone circle or the source of a river. In the seventies, Mum and Dad helped to create the their local history centre and took their turn to be on duty there. It wasn’t unusual for Dad to point visitors from Canada or Australia looking for relatives, to their cousins. He knew who had married whom, back in the thirties and forties.

Mum and Dad in their farm clothes, (1970s)  as I mostly saw them.

In their old age they were delighted to be taken away from Cornwall, to visit Ely Cathedral, Lindisfarne, Iona, Orkney, and the Hebrides. Their enthusiasm was catching, and those subjects previously associated with my childhood sulks, came alive for me.

 In a way, it feels as if they are accompanying me now, while I research the subject of folklore and in particular the experience of being a grandmother. During this reading and writing journey I am finding them more co-operative now, than they were in real life.

 If you would like to join the three of us on this ethnological journey you would be very welcome. There will be all kinds of history, ideas and folklore associated with the experience of women to uncover, as I explore and interview over the next few years. 

Along the way we will be looking at the experience of being a contemporary grandmother and asking the questions: 

Who are we, and where do we come from?

How does society view us? 

What is it like being a grandmother for our generation, born after the war with all the advantages that were offered at that time?

What family history are we able to share with the younger generation? 

Do they want it/need it? 

Are we finding new ways of connecting with our faraway families?

 Lastly, do we have a community responsibility to link our family future generations into their family past.

All these questions are relevant if you think, like me, a grandma is not just for Christmas. 

Published by marycane

A PhD student at the Elphinstone Institute Aberdeen Scotland. I am studying the experience of being a contemporary grandmother. In particular I am interested in how those grandmothers, whose family live far away, are passing on their family history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: