Whitesburg KY
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Grandmas need occasional break from young ones

Points East

I may have jumped the gun in regards to the Letcher County Schools history project reported in last week’s column. At least I have not yet heard from anybody about following up on it. This would not be the first time I’ve had my wires crossed and I don’t expect it will be the last. I will keep you posted if anything else materializes.

In the meantime, speaking of schools, most of them should be on summer vacation by now. On the other hand, I recently spoke with a grandmother who is way beyond ready for her five grandchildren to get back to school and stay there until they have graduated, gone to prison or moved several states away.

She has been “caring” for the siblings, aged 8 through 14, including a set of twins, since early March when COVID-19 closed down the schools. I’m not going to list the kids’ genders because she doesn’t really want folks to know who she is. She said that she doesn’t believe she has broken any laws, so far, but that could change at any minute.

She also said that she was not terribly scared of catching the disease because she doubted that it could be much worse than what she was already going through.

“All you hear on the news these days is how brave medical workers, law enforcement and other essential workers are. If you want to talk about bravery, you ought to talk about teachers. There doesn’t even need to be a pandemic going on for me to appreciate what they have to put up with under the even the best of circumstances.”

To hear my friend tell it, two of her grandkids are perfectly capable of breaking an anvil into small pieces, getting past her computer’s parental controls in less than 30 seconds, giving her dog a nervous breakdown and making her cat leave home. The dog used to bark and wag all over anytime someone came to the door. Now he only whines and runs as far back as he can get to hide behind a suitcase under her bed.

They have, she said, destroyed her ice maker twice and she can’t find anyone willing to fix it now, two doors are off the hinges, most of her towels are tiedied pink because someone threw red panties into the washer with them, both her baking sheets are warped because someone left the oven on TWICE! Nobody has ever confessed that they had anything to do with these mishaps and every one of them has adamantly blamed one or more of their siblings. Not one of them has gone unaccused even though they’ve all had alibis supported by other siblings.

They have attempted to fix flat bicycle tires, an electric mixer that one of them dropped and a cracked front windowpane, that no one can explain, with bright orange duct tape. Even though it’s only May, one of the kids told her he was using the tape to decorate for Halloween and the other four tried to convince her that made sense.

Now, she says, she has given her son and daughterin law 10 days notice to find child care and to find it anywhere other than her house because she is locking up the place until school starts back. She has made arrangements to spend the summer with a cousin who lives in a summerhouse on an island near Charleston, South Carolina. The kids and grandkids are welcome to visit but they will have to rent their own accommodations.

Frankly, I know a thing or two about grandmas myself. I’m married to one. They simply need to take a break now and then. If this one is anything like Loretta, her “summer” will only be a nice little, late spring, 10-day trip to the low country where she will spend most of her time telling her cousin how sweet her grandkids are. The more she talks about them, the more she’ll miss them.

Hopefully, her son will have the windowpane replaced and the doors repaired, her daughter-in-law will have bought her a new mixer and the cat will have come home by the time she gets back to Kentucky before the end of June. She’d already said her cousin loves the little dog more than she does so she might just wind up letting him stay down there.

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