A Gift For Grandma
For Christmas last year I got my 93-year-old grandmother a copy of her father's social security application through the government's Freedom of Information Act. I thought it a novel gift idea. A friend of mine was not so impressed. "I hope you're never my secret Santa. I'll probably get a copy of my birth certificate," he joked.
Well, it's hard to shop for your nonogenarian grandmother when traditional Christmas gifts just won't do. This year I think I did better. I remember when as a kid we would go to my grandmother's house Christmas Eve, my grandfather would pull out his violin and play. It was part of the tradition, it seemed.
Music was my grandfather's passion throughout life. He led his own Polish orchestra for decades in the Bay City area of Michigan. He had an extensive collection of sheet music and orchestra arrangments which were passed on to me when he died some years ago. They included an early arrangement of "Hail to the Victors, the song of the University of Michigan." What class!
In Krysziak's, a Polish restaurant in Bay City, there hangs a number of old photographs of Polish musicians from the area. Included was a picture taken almost 60 years ago of my grandfather on stage playing the violin with his band.
With a bit of effort, I was able to borrow the picture to make a copy for my grandmother. I knew she would appreciate it as a remembrance of her late husband. While I had the photo, I made copies of it for myself, my dad and my siblings.
My dad was impressed. He framed his copy right away. Everyone seemed to think I did right by grandma this Christmas. In fact, I was surprised to get an e-mail from my uncle Jim:
"Hi Dave. I went to my ma's and Vic came over with a picture of my dad's band. He gave my ma one but I didn't get one. I know you must have sent me one cause I'm your favorite uncle. So I thought I would tell you I didn't receive it yet. Oh well, I'll just have to wait, huh? Bye bye, love ya,
Your Best Uncle"
Wonder if he would settle for a copy of his grandfather's social security application. I still have a copy of that around somewhere.