Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Would We Do Without Grandparents?

So...this Thursday, on Grandparent's Day, I realized the importance of grandparents. My grandparents live in Spring Hill, Florida, so it isn't very often that I see them. When I was growing up, I lived with my grandparents and there wasn't much to do so I became very close with them. Although I only visit them now, it used to be very, very different. It is so weird that distance has made us so much closer. Now, when I visit them, I realize how much I missed them and how much they mean to me. They helped raise me and if it weren't for them, I wouldn't be alive right now.

While we were in poetry with grandparents, I started wondering; which poets have been influenced significantly by their grandparents? As I did some research, I found a famous Poet Laureate; Rita Dove. Born in 1952 in Akron, Ohio, she has written 6 poetry collections that have been published. Among these 6 is Thomas and Beulah, which was given the Pulitzer Prize in 1987.

Thomas and Beulah was written based upon the lives of a married black couple born in the early 1900s; her grandparents. Although semi-fictionalized, it is a chronological story of her grandparents' lives during the Great Migration. Although her grandfather's name was Thomas, as it was in the book, her grandmother's name was actually Georgianna. Through a series of poems, Thomas and Beulah speak of their love for each other although they cannot be together all the time. The poems are told from two different perspectives and include issues of love, marriage, their lives together (or not) and sadly, death. The poems are to be read as a narrative and are meant to show the reader the struggles that her grandparents went through.

I think it is amazing how Rita Dove's grandparents were held together no matter what because their love for each other was so strong. Without them, Rita Dove would have never even been alive to write about them. Looking back, I continue to think; where would I be if it weren't for my grandparents? Between my grandparents and my parents, they have struggled through equality issues and have gained many civil rights, making a much better world for me to live in. For that I am thankful, as everyone should be, for my grandparents.