Today is national Grandparents day. Are yours still alive? Mine aren’t and I remember fondly hanging out with them as a child. My mothers father Ernesto was a doctor in Cuba and later when we left Cuba in 1961 (I was a year old) – we sponsored him to get him out of Castro’s Cuba. He taught me how to play dominoes – while his wife – Nena was a stern grandmother you didn’t disobey. But she was glamorous and wore silk kimono’s. I think I got my sense of style from her.
On my father’s side I had 2 sets of grandparents. Due to divorce each of his parents remarried and the 2 step grandparents I acquired were a hoot. One was a handsome bespectacled former banker. He wore a dark suit and white shirt everyday and smoked and drank Cuban coffee religiously. Graupera we called him had a sharp wit and savvy intuition. He called me La Japonesa (or his little Japanese girl.) It’s ironic that as an adult when I married my journalist husband our first home as newlyweds was china. But we toured all of Asia including Japan.
My grandfather on my fathers side – Manuel was a security guard and a master minature ship builder- but stupidly he used to give his museum quality ships away not realizing their inherent worth.
Abuelo Manolo’s second wife Tata, is still alive,outlasting him and his diabetes. but when I was young – I was sent to stay at their house in Miami- when my parents wanted alone time. Tata was funny and loving. I taught her English while we watched Spanish soaps. She now lives with her son Manny my Uncle, a West Point graduate, in Texas. I haven’t seen her since I was 20 when She let my then boyfriend and me stay at their house over Spring Break when I was a student at Boston University. Her only request was we stay in separate rooms. She was and still is a great step grandmother.
Now that I am in my fifties I WANT TO BE A GRANDMOTHER!
I want grandchildren – but my two sons and the sons of this economy I predict, will not be marrying and having children (unless they have a trust fund) because their salaries are still – exactly what they were when I was beginning my job in Journalism back in 1982.
People talk a lot about the loss of the middle class – it is true – it doesn’t exist anymore and I say the biggest factor is that salaries especially in the big cities New York, San Francisco, and Los Angles are NOT keeping up with inflation.
Moreover, the media and the entertainment business are the worst offenders and why because those of us and my sons are part of that group know that just getting in the door – whether in TV, entertainment or film means you are paid peanuts – because they have hundreds of aspiring youth willing to put up with the low pay – just to have the opportunity to get in the door.
I predict that this generation will not be able to marry and if they do they certainly won’t be having children -they won’t be able to afford them.
This will lead to lower birth rates and alas, to make it All about myself I will NOT be a GRANDMOTHER like my husband already is. He has three by his only daughter from a previous marriage and they have affectionate names for him. I am just called Vivian.
So on this National grandparents day – even though I may never be one – I wish for my son in LA to be Hired first and foremost for his Talents – and for my son in New York to be able to make as much money as he can without scraping by to pay his rent and basic cable. Print, broadcast entertainment, and publishing companies still pay a pittance because they can get away with it – but its time they step up and raise their starting salaries.
And finally I think Donald Trump would be good for our economy and I hope he hears me when I say – I want my sons and others sons and daughters to be able to make more than $30,000 a year; But – corporations need to start paying entry level and experienced workers more money. This is not happening yet.
I want my sons to be able to get married and afford the cost of having a child which sadly I don’t see happening for a long time if at all. Because my Terms of Endearment, my American Dream is to now be a Goddamn Grandmother – Because I know I will be an Awesome one when it happens.