My grandfather’s one of those lovely elderly folk who doesn’t dwell on ‘the ol’ days.’ We can have a pretty good chat about current events, family stuff and the likes, never having to enter into the world of the old that the youth so readily condescend without ever having understood.
Yesterday, however, we got onto the topic of how he met my grandmother. A touchy, but touching, subject, as she passed over two years ago and he is still very much in love with her…as are we all. After chatting to him, I got to wondering whether true love, or at least true romance is now antiquated.
We’ve all watched movies like The Notebook and other parodies of history and romance – it makes us weep (or, if you’re a ceiling watcher like I am, bawl shamelessly) and makes us wish for a such a time, whilst realising the fiction and the sensationalism that makes those movies so damned profitable.
*But listening to my grandfather, I realised that, perhaps, movies such as these aren’t sensationalised at all.
He lived that life of trust, honesty, fidelity and romance. He spent years apart from his girlfriend, not yet wife, writing her letters, with which he posted only one stocking a time, to ensure she replied. Stockings weren’t readily available in England at the time and my grandfather had returned to Scotland to dig trenches for electricity lines, whilst my gran completed her nursing studies in Plymouth. So he would only send the second stocking after she replied, thus ensuring their correspondence continued.
They spent months and years apart and somehow retained passion, love and trust. Coincidence had it that they were both transferred to London and one year later they were married. This may seem slightly tame in comparison to the love-birds in The Notebook, but when you look deeper, you find the sensationalism, you find the struggles and the difficulty that they faced just to be together.
My grandfather is a Scot, a damned proud one. My gran was as Irish as can be and came from a…um…rather traditional family. My grandfather was not well off, whereas my gran’s family was wealthy. My grandfather was a Protestant, whilst (and here’s the clincher) my gran was an Irish Catholic.**
When they were wed, no parents attended the wedding.
Whilst apart, they wrote and they knew the other would reply. They had oceans between them and yet they trusted fully. In today’s day and age, we look down on what we term ‘long-distance relationships.’ I’m a loud and proud advocator of not having a long-distance relationship and have accused friends of ‘playing it safe’, by having a partner so far away that you have a hassle-free relationship without the implied shame of singledom.
After chatting to my grandfather, I now find myself ashamed. I’m a firm believer in true love and have always been, regardless of logic, and yet I felt free and obligated to condescend those that fought for love, regardless of distance.
I am ashamed that I should so readily give up the values of past generations, so am now determined to support those who fight for love, no matter how far apart they may be.
I only hope that someday I shall find someone who will love me enough to send me just one stocking.
*please ignore the bad grammar – poetic license.
**allow me some flexibility on the facts, I may have one or two mixed up, but the gist remains the same.