1. Archive

"Grandfather' title strains family

Dear Lois: Although I divorced my children's father five years ago, we have all maintained a warm relationship. Now I am both newly married (two years) and a new grandmother (two weeks). At a family gathering, I addressed my husband as Grandpa Bill (not his real name).

My son, the baby's father, became very upset and said he thought Uncle Bill more appropriate. I was crushed, as was my husband.

We do not suggest that my husband be given the role of grandparent, nor do we want to diminish the recognition of the natural grandfathers, but I want my husband to have a name that can offer him more of the joy associated with inclusion in a family.

My son later apologized, but we are both hurt. Is there another name that might permit my husband to feel a part of the grandparenting experience? _ No Names Please

Dear NNP: I agree with you that calling your husband "Grandpa Bill" hurts no one. In a world where love is so hard to find, how lucky for that child to have a fine man who wants to be another grandfather to him.

I suggest you have another talk with your son (not with your husband present) and explain that the birth of the baby is a family happening, not just a parental event.

If your son will not relent, then I suggest that instead of calling your husband "Uncle" (like you, I find that odious) you make up a special loving name like "Bill dear" or "Honey Bill."

Maybe our readers (smart people all) will have some other suggestions _ no matter how unusual each problem seems, my mail indicates that someone has already faced and solved it.

Learning to climb family trees

Dear Lois: Many of your readers have written to ask about tracing one's family. I thought you might be interested to know that St. Petersburg Junior College has offered a class taught by Marcia Davis called "Family Life History."

It's a terrific course, and some people have taken it many times. _ E. Naumann, Crystal Beach

Dear EN: Thanks for the information. Although many of our readers live in places far from Florida, it may encourage others to check with local institutions (libraries, colleges) to see if similar courses are offered.

Do-it-yourselfers live long and happily

Dear Lois: When you told about the 90-year-old woman writing her memories, I decided to tell you about my husband and me.

He is 88, and I am 86. We walk two miles almost every day and do it in 45 minutes. Each night we do exercises.

He also mows our whole lot, and I climbed a ladder to the roof when I was 85 and sawed off the high limbs on the pecan tree.

We are about to celebrate our 69th wedding anniversary, attend church every Sunday and never hire people to do things at our house. One day a lady asked, "When are you two going to look old?" _ Paul and Juanita Boyd, Ardmore, Okla.

Dear Paul and Juanita: Well, if the recipe for eternal youth is climbing on the roof and sawing limbs off trees, I'd say there's going to be a real run on ladders. Whatever the recipe, you both seem to enjoy the results. What a nice letter.

Send your comments and questions to Lois Wyse, the grandmother who's listening: "Wyse Words," Maturity News Service, Suite 968, National Press Building, Washington, DC 20045.