FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

You Never Know

by MISSY BEATTIE

For years, my sister Laura and her partner Erma worked at a residential treatment facility with children whose behavior made it impossible for them to be educated in a traditional setting. After nine months to a year of behavior modification (and mandatory parent participation), the children were mainstreamed to their conventional schools.

Cursing was minor compared to other offenses endured by the staff at Central Kentucky Re-Ed. Replacing the “F” word with “Grandma Fletcher” was sanctified.

Example: “Get the Grandma Fletcher out of my Grandma Fletchering face, you Grandma Fletchering Grandma Fletcher.”

My sister and Erma are retired now. Took the “early”.  Laura has no children except for the cats, Maggie and Oscar.

While maintaining a strict, conduct-governing system (the Grandma Fletcher rule) for my grown children and for me during visits and vacations, Laura and Erma allow Maggie and Oscar to live outside the law. Undisciplined rascals these felines are with a playground that includes kitchen countertops and the dining table.

Last year, The Sisterhood (Oscar hadn’t joined the jumble yet) spent three weeks in Georgia. I opened a bottle of olive oil to make a salad one evening and then noticed that Maggie was sitting in the salad bowl.

“Oh, isn’t that precious?”

“Oh, isn’t that precious?” Laura says this often to Erma. And they make eye contact in radiant appreciation, exactly the way my husband Charles and I did, transmitting recognition to each other that our children had said or done something clearly indicative of Grandma Fletchering genius.

Here’s just one illustration of son H’s brilliance: “Mom, what’s the word you think of when you have to substitute Grandma Fletcher, the word you think when you hear Grandma Fletcher?”

“You’re so Grandma Fletcherin’ right,” I told this particular prodigy and then, I gasped with longing for his father, for that shared acknowledgment of the gift we presented one another. And not seeing those blue eyes, I looked to H’s brother, my other Grandma Fletchering phenomenon. Each of these young men once graced the playground of my womb and later dined at my breasts as I held their soft baby bodies and buried my face in their innocence. These two were loved and nurtured, so indulged, that either could have or could not have been enrolled in a residential treatment program for “problem” children somewhere during elementary, middle, or high school.

You never Grandma Fletchering know.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail