GrandParents Are A Gift

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I grew up in LA. That’s Lower Alabama. My hometown is full of beach people.  And if it were not for my grandparents, my lens of a hometown would be completely different.

I grew up poor. I didn’t know I was poor, because everyone around me was poor as well.  All of my friends received free or reduced lunch at school. I thought everyone, everywhere did too.   I grew up in a three bedroom house that was covered with a tin roof and no air conditioning.  We had a roof over our heads and a decent car. I never went hungry. My grandparents provided for me and my brother with what they had.

Related Post: The Lessons My Brother Taught Me

Looking back, my grandparents were the most selfless folks that I could ever know. They took in two children in their early 60s and raised us from babies all the way through to college. This was a time for them to relax. Yet, they started all over again. My Grandfather never showed emotion towards us, but I knew he loved me and my brother.  He only had a 5th grade education, yet he would read the newspaper every day. And on Sundays, we would read the comics (or as we say “the funny papers”) to me. Dagwood and Blondie and Beetle Bailey were his favorites.

My Grandmother loved working in church. With a 9th grade education, she was a true entrepreneur. She was always looking for ways to make money around the house or selling cakes and dinner plates for the church.  She never grew tired of trying new things.

Growing up down South made me appreciate things around me. We didn’t have a lot of material things growing up. We had the absolute basics. No luxury items. But what we lacked in material things, we were rich in love and support. My Grandparents always instilled in me to take my studies seriously. Sometimes too seriously.  Now, as a parent, I understand their fervor. They saw opportunities that were not available to them.  They loved me enough to push me.

Both of my grandparents passed away. I think about them a lot. I see them in my kids. One of my sons has my Grandfather’s ears. Another has my Grandmother’s frown. My kids go to school in a pretty diverse neighborhood. They know they are not poor, but they also know they are not monetarily rich. They do have even more opportunities available to them than I had at my age. They have the legacy of their great-grandparents to inspire them towards greatness.  I want them to go further than we are now. I believe they will.


This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world-famous candy emporium, and First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year-long international celebration.

Head over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child can have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more!

For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book. Then, join From Left to Write on July 24 as we discuss Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As a book club member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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This is beautiful. I often find myself wishing that I had a better relationship with my grandmother when she was alive, instead of allowing her relationship with my father to dictate ours. Now that I'm essentially grandparent-less, I feel like I've missed out...or I'm missing out on a major part of my life. Or a link to who I am. I don't know, honestly, but I enjoyed reading this post.


Vaneese, you really said something there that applies to me as well. Thank you so much for our comment.


  1. […] Val at  Children Of The Old School remembers how her Grandparents gave her the gift of love. […]

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