Explaining to Grandma

June 23, 2007 at 7:04 am (Uncategorized)

I was looking for some quotes for a craft I was making and I came across this proverb.

You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

I had to laugh.

First, you have to understand my grandmother. Grandma Edith was what I would consider a "prim and proper" grandma. She grew up on the East Coast, was an English teacher and was just, well, proper. She had her view on things and that’s just the way it was. There wasn’t much you could do to convince her she was wrong or that there might be another side to the story. (She once tried to tell me that I, at 16, was too young to know what love was. To which I replied, "You’re right Grandma, I guess I don’t love you. I’m too young to know what love is." (I CANNOT believe my dad didn’t ground me for that.) She was, BTW, talking about me and a boy.

So fast forward to about 1997. She was about 93 at the time and I was driving her home after a family event. It was just the two of us in the car.  We talked some but then it had fallen quiet as we rode.

Out of the blue she asks, "What do they mean when they say ‘french-kissing’?"

I think I coughed and sputtered for a few seconds, trying to get over the shock of the phrase "french-kissing" coming out of my grandmother’s mouth.

How best to explain it somewhat delicately so as not to offend prim and proper Grandma?

I think I ended up saying something like "Well, it’s when two people are kissing and they touch tongues." And I left it at that, quietly pleading for her not to ask for more details.

"Oh," she said.

And it was quiet the rest of the way to her house.



  1. Brooke said,

    How sweet a story. Is that going to be the same answer when N or N ask you? Sometimes I think talking to kids, is the same way we talk to older adults. We refrain from using the young lingo, thinking that we are going to ruin their pure thoughts along with their pure vocabulary. 🙂

  2. Kelley said,

    Whew! It was nice of her not to ask those follow-up questions. Maybe she already was familiar with the concept, just not the term…since she was a “mother” herself.

  3. Stacey said,

    That is too cute that your Grandma asked you that. What a funny thing but I know you’ll remember that and cherish it forever!

    She sounds like she was a great woman Julie!!

  4. carissa said,

    too funny, julie. i like your response…yeah, you probably should’ve been grounded for that. 🙂

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