Growing up, I was lucky enough to know both sets of grandparents as well as three of my great-grandparents. I know some people grow up without grandparents, or at least not both sets, and never got to know their great-grandparents.
I’ll start with my Dad’s side of the family. I don’t have pictures of my great-grandma, “Granny”, as we called her. My memories of her include her old apartment near Chinatown in Vancouver, which reeked of Tiger Balm, her wig and the fact that she was blind. I remember her touching my face, asking how old I was, what grade I was in. She’d call me a good girl and give me stale cookies.
My Dad’s parents, who we called Grandma & Grandpa Chow (original, right?), raised my Dad and his siblings in my hometown before moving to Vancouver to retire. My Grandpa owned a store, which belonged to his father, back in the day and it was quite popular. “Wing Chong Tai” is what is was called and it’s even in the museum in my hometown, with a picture of him and everything. I remember once, we were grocery shopping while we were visiting in Vancouver and he insisted on buying my brother and I a chocolate bar, even though my Dad told him “No” a million times. (Grandpa Chow won!) After having cancer and a stroke, he passed away when he was 86. (Or at least I think that’s how old he was.)
My Grandma Chow didn’t speak English very well, so I only remember her yelling “Eat!” in this high-pitched voice that demanded respect. Her food was amazing. I remember her jade jewelry. I was only about 3-years-old when she passed away. I can’t remember how old she was when she passed away, but she battled with diabetes. I remember her insulin needles in the cupboard in the bathroom.
This a picture of my grandparents and I when I was almost 1-year-old. They came to visit every Easter, which meant twice as much Easter candy and chocolate. (Also note how Chinese I looked when I was a baby!)
Next Friday, I’ll flashback to my Mom’s side :)
Happy Friday everyone!