So, I wrote in one post how my lovely grandma (who will henceforth be referred to as Barbie, because that's what we call her), and her life in Hollywood. And how she used to work out with "that sweet girl Uma, who was so tall and beautiful! I think she was in a pulp novel movie..." The work outs were when she was around 50. All of these stories are 100% true, and I want to tell them. Because GT will enjoy them. There are quite a few, so it's a bit long.
So, Barbie was grown and raised in LA. Daughter of a county sheriff, grew up the only girl on the farm during the depression. Mom in a mental institution, who resented Barbie. Sounds sad, right? Not for Barbie. Girl was a sharp shooter, tough, went to college, and drove a car to Hollywood every weekend during WWII. At 16. My math may be off a bit, but this comes from her.
Barbie was a regular at The Hollywood Canteen, where she chilled with Bette Davis ("gosh, what a cold woman, VV! But very determined"), and, of course, some handsome servicemen. I can't really remember the other celebs, but one time she got asked out by Clark Gable somewhere down the line. This may or may not be a fuzzy recollection, but, as she said, "he was so handsome, but I had to decline! I mean, VV, I had a boyfriend!".
Flash forward to life with grandpa (name: J.G., because that is what we called him. Rest his soul). "Oh, VV, I loved him, but he had that Irish disposition. A poetic soul, but not good with articulation. But so handsome, and smart". J.G. got a scholarship to a private school at 15, and went on to a prestigious west coast university. But J.G ain't Barbie.
They had 6 kids (again, Irish Catholics, but not the crazy kind), and lived the high life in Europe, after the kids grew up. They had their ups and downs, but J.G. got rich in banking or something, so Barbie got the best of the best. Fur coats, diamonds, and she collected vintage designer bags. She gave me a Hungarian Crystal Rosary (maybe Bohemian crystal?). Did I mention she is/was a knock-out? And that I look like her? Sorry, had to brag.
But her son committed suicide. Here's how she came to terms with it: "VV, you have to believe in an afterlife. I saw him after the death, and he said "Mom, I'm ok. I'm finally happy. I love you". She's had other experiences like this.
Now she lives in a nursing home. My entire family thinks she's loosing it, but the truth is she just lies to them because she doesn't want them to bug her. She is totally with it, and pretty much tells me that I'm the only family member she can talk to. She told me recently when I was having an existential crisis that "don't do what your parents want you to do. Go and travel. Life is an adventure!".
Sorry this was so long, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. I just wanted to share the stories, because I talked to her the other day and she said she doesn't fear death. Worried me a bit, because she's pretty much the only female role model in my life.
Feel free to ask me more! I'm going to call her today, see what else I can get out of her. And share some family stories if you want!
Gotta add this edit: Barbie looks suspiciously like Marilyn Monroe...not claiming fame here, but in my mind some Freaky Friday shit went down.