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My Grandma and Me - Sweet Childhood Memories

This was originally written when I was 16. It is very much inspired by my own grandmother, although I did slip in a little a little bit of fiction and imagination.

However, this piece is an accurate reflection of what my country was like in the 1930 and 1940s.


To say that generation gap exists between my grandmother and I would be one of the last descriptions that I would use, lest I think of, to describe our grandmother and granddaughter bond. My grandmother's rare company is something I immensely enjoy.

Just recently, we had a family dinner. Being the only granddaughter, I was left alone in the kitchen to help my grandmother wash dishes while the adults engaged in serious talk outside. As always, my grandmother would tell me all kinds of stories about her childhood.

Born just before the Second World War, my grandmother experienced an entirely different childhood lifestyle from what I do now. My grandmother did not have a chance to go to school. Like in typical households, where boys were pampered and favoured much more than girls, my grandma had to stay at home to do chores and learn cooking. The only opportunity she could jump at to study was when her brother was having Chinese lessons with the family tutor. My grandmother would sit quietly at the far end of the long rectangular dining table, across her brother and tutor, listening intently. In fact, this training taught her to read and write her Chinese upside down - a skill that has turned out to be quite practical, especially whenever we share the newspaper.

On most weekends, my grandmother would, together with her bother and neighbours, go to the beach - a stone's throw away from their home in Katong( an area near the beach). There, she and her brother would wade into a deeper section, sit down cross-legged underwater and hold their breaths while they watched the all action going on around them. This is something I admire about my grandmother- her ability to open her eyes underwater and overcome the salty underwater currents and still sit comfortably on the seabed. I can't even hold my breath longer than a minute!

During the war, life came almost to a standstill. To protect her from the Japanese Soldiers who preyed on pretty young girls, my grandmother had to cut off her hair, and each time a siren went off, she would run underneath her parent's bed and the family would stuff all the luggage bags underneath the bed together with her. Many times, the Japanese soldiers would enter their home, shining their torch under the bed in their quest to make sure no able-bodied person was hiding in there. Many time, they would miss discovering her by just a few inches, which my grandma claims is the Lord's hand of protection.

These are just a few of the many stories my grandma has told me over the years. Comparing her childhood and mine, my childhood is worlds apart from hers. My childhood was quite a happy one. I am thankful that I did not need to go through the trauma of war, where life would be lived in days of fear and uncertainty.

I've never faced the problem of education, because since I was born it has been a part of life that I have been forced to accept. Sometimes I feel ashamed whenever I think of grandma who had no chance for schooling; here I am, counting down to the time when I will leave school instead of appreciating this opportunity.

When I was younger, I never really had the chance to go to the beach, sit on the sand and while away my time, or learn the art of making the Peranakan beaded slippers like my grandma did. All I remember was staying at home, playing with my piano or reading my books, something that my grandma would have herself dreamt of doing.

I guess our different childhood background is what makes my grandmother such an interesting person to talk to; her stories always make my history textbooks come alive.


Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 21, 2014:

It's wonderful that you had these times together with your grandmother. Writing down these stories is a gift for future generations in your family.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 07, 2012:

Dear Charlotte - What a beautiful story about you and your grandma. She was really something! You have inherited her precious qualities. Very well written and this get's my vote up!

Carol-Anne from UK on January 20, 2012:

Good to hear Charlotte, it's just really hard to spare the time to do it but such a worthwhile project to do - believe me.

Charlotte B Plum (author) on January 20, 2012:

Hey Carol-Anne,

thank you so much for visiting this hub and leaving a comment! I will heed your advice. =)

Carol-Anne from UK on January 20, 2012:

Hi Charlotte, make sure you write down all your memories of your Grandma so they can be passed down to future generations.

Charlotte B Plum (author) on January 06, 2012:

Ms Louise, I so appreciate you coming by and leaving a comment. I too enjoy reading stories about the past because I get to taste a little of the social norms and culture of older times.

Charlotte B Plum (author) on January 06, 2012:

Thank you bluebird! Yea grandmas are full of wisdom, comfort and good food too! I'm glad you found and liked this, it doesn't get that many visits.

bluebird on January 06, 2012:

I liked this! Grandmas are quite special!

And so are grandkids!

Ms Louise on October 03, 2011:

I too love hearing stories from my Grandma's childhood. It makes me feel a part of a bigger history and it helps me respect my heritage and the obstacles my grandparents overcame!

Charlotte B Plum (author) on July 22, 2011:

Hey marellen!

Thank you for your lovely words. Yeah, I am blessed to have a wonderful grandma =)Whenever I hear her stories of when she was a kid i feel so compelled to write them down.

marellen on July 22, 2011:

Hi Charlotte, very nice tribute to your Grandma. It sounds like you and her had a wonderful relationship.

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