Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Grandpa Chronicles

You know how every once in a while I decide to do a Weekly Feature? Past Weekly Features included Porn Sunday and Mortification Monday. Well, now I'm adding The Grandpa Chronicles, where I will regale of you with stories about my grandfather. He is the grandparent that I'd spent the most time with, both as a child in the Soviet Union and in NY, as an adult. Mostly because he was the only grandparent that lived in New York because my other grandparents were dead at the time and I am not Shirley McLaine. My grandfather died several years ago, and recently I've been thinking about him and wondering how to best exploit him for this blog. What? We all mourn in different ways.

When my grandfather came over from the Soviet Union in the mid-1990s, he settled into a community of Russian immigrants in New York. Visiting him was like visiting the former Soviet Union, if the former Soviet Union consisted of 70something bachelor and bachelorettes whose favorite pastime seemed to be finding some inequity in this so called land of freedom and opportunity and then commenting that "not even under Stalin were things this bad." The abuses that these brave souls endured in this home of the free and land of the brave included the local A&P running out of advertised specials and the synogogue's Senior lunch serving inadequate portions. No one was spared their wrath, I often thought that people working with refugees in labor camps could get their training among my grandfather's group.
"I don't understand," my grandfather would lay out his notes in front of me. "I have all the documentation right here, and yet my lawyer is asking for something more." He was in the midst of applying for his U.S. citizenship and although the "something more" required making a photocopy of some nonsense, he stood on principle that it wasn't necessary because according to his wizened interpretation of the law, the file was complete. I was certain that his lawyer was in the process of making a noose for himself after dealing with my grandfather and I wondered who to contact to put him on suicide watch. Lest you think that my grandfather didn't want to comply with the additional copying requirement out of laziness let me disabuse you of that notion. Because the way that my grandfather decided to get aropund this copying nonsense was to enlist Clinton's assistance. You know, Bill Clinton.
"I need you to send a fax for me," he told me one day when he came over. "I wrote it out in Russian, so you;ll need to translate, although some of the more meaningful parts I wrote in English myself," he looked at me, implying that my grasp of English could be trusted with stock phrases but not eloquent appeals to the soul.
The gist of the letter was that my grandfather understood the unfortunate meddlings of the legal system into "man's private business" all too well, so he and Bill had a lot in common in that regard. Because of this kinship, my grandfather implored the President to intercede on his behalf with his attorney and regretted to inform him that the INS would probably have to be involved as well, He thanked him in advance and reminded him that he was a proud member of the Soviet army in World War II and therefore a hero.
I have to remind you that at that time, normal people didn't have fax machines, so I had to go to my local stationary store to fax this. the reason that I didn't just toss it and pretend I sent it (i.e. lie) was because I knew that there would be follow up letters to the President with this letter as exhibit A of a million and I was worried about my mental capaity to keep so much shit straight. Clearly Madoff never sought me out as an assistant.

Clinton responded with a family photograph of himself, Hillary and Chelsea.
"What is this?" my grandfather asked. He held the photo away from him with disdain as though it were Monica's sperm enriched dress.
His correspondence with the President proved to be unsatisfactory and became a stanza in the "not even in the former Soviet Union" tirade. Because apparently in the former Soviet Union he and Stalin were penpals.

Next week on The Grandpa Chronicles: Grandpa Gets Married.



Blogger Vodka Mom said...


but, uh. where are the fucks?

February 28, 2009 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger A Woman Of No Importance said...

Fabulous story, M - No wonder you are so bright and sassy with such a heritage and a proud grandfather, on handshake terms with Stalin, if not Clinton!

Beautifully written, too!

February 28, 2009 at 4:20 PM  
Anonymous peajaye said...

when stalin came over for sedar, did he get to recite the Hallel?

February 28, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger blognut said...

Great Story. I CANNOT wait to hear about Grandpa getting married.

February 28, 2009 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Comedy Goddess said...

Grandpadrinka sounds like rich material. Can't wait to hear more.

February 28, 2009 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger PinkLizzy said...

That is fricking awesome!

I love how some people think they can just do the impossible (ie, have a D & M with Clinton or scale a monster mountain that everyone else dies on). That's how amazing things get done.

I can't wait for more Grandpa stories.

February 28, 2009 at 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Coco said...

Love stories about grandparents like this. My mothers father never opened his mouth except to tell you his 50 ailments. Those I didn't care for. But my father's mother had interesting stories to tell. Can't wait to hear more.


February 28, 2009 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Braja said...

Where am I, the frikkin' History Channel?? Next thing you know, you're gonna start makin' us cry, for God's sake....

February 28, 2009 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger SweetPeaSurry said...

Ahhh your grandfather sounds like a brilliant man. Penpals with Stalin. Feckin' priceless!

February 28, 2009 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

wait, is this one of those posts that your family is reading?


February 28, 2009 at 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I'm going to write a letter to the President. Brilliant suggestion.

February 28, 2009 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 28, 2009 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

Wait, My grandfather's father was a Russian Cossack. Marinka- are we related?????? Wait, I think he was polish.

never mind.

February 28, 2009 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger Braja said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 28, 2009 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Braja said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 28, 2009 at 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great story!!!

February 28, 2009 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Ann's Rants said...

I just bought my ticket for Blogher, but now I need a refund as I just attended Bloghers: Braja-n-Vodka. ;)

February 28, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Kate Coveny Hood said...

I LOVE the end. Penpals.

February 28, 2009 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Swistle said...

I am writing to President Obama about this RIGHT NOW.

February 28, 2009 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Tooj said...

Grandparents who you are able to spend some quality time do generally tend to provide good blogging material. I'm sure you enjoyed the trot down memory lane. :)

February 28, 2009 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

I love a girl that is not afraid to exploit her own grandfather on her blog or use the phrase,"Monica's sperm enriched dress."

March 1, 2009 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Threeboys1mommy said...

Is it too late to claim the picture of Bubba's family portrait?

March 1, 2009 at 2:22 AM  
Blogger mo.stoneskin said...

I don't understand how you can keep track of all these titles/series, do you use some sort of elaborate calendar/matrix?

I'd also be careful, you don't want to get any of those titles mixed up. Grandfather, porn, mortification. I'm just saying.

March 1, 2009 at 2:46 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

I too have a grandparent that I plan to blog about. She was a homesteader in Montana back in the early 1900's. That must be good blogging material. My mother was born in a log cabin out there on an Indian reservation. Grandma was tough as nails and lived to be 85 years old.

March 1, 2009 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger michelle said...

I am pretty sure you grandfather must have married my husbands grandmom. Short jewish lady, made abulous Jeish Apple Cake? Except she lived in NJ.... could have been though?

March 1, 2009 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 1, 2009 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa L said...

I love, love, love your style of writing..and your humor? OMG I'm laughing my a** off! Thank you for the smiles today...

March 1, 2009 at 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Kristine said...

So funny.

March 2, 2009 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

This is adoarable.

March 2, 2009 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger SubWife said...

And I thought my grandparent were - what's the word - eccentric. You gave me much needed perspective.

Btw, first time on your blog and thoroughly enjoying it.

March 5, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

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