Kenny was about to get married, and his sweetheart deal to live in his family’s little mother in law apartment had gone sour. His least favorite grandmother had broken an arm, and his parents had decided that Gram needed the home more than Kenny.
Kenny was always complaining about Gram. To hear him tell it, she was a teetotaling, puritanical, manipulative four-year-old in a seventy-five-year-old body. Gram had been advised by her doctor to go to a rehab hospital for recuperation and therapy. Gram decided that she’d be better off with Kenny’s mom, who was a nurse. Kenny maintained that Gram would be there forever. With the In-law apartment taken, Kenny and his bride would need to live in Kenny’s old room. Not the most magnificent nest for a new couple.
I was ready to pay for my selections, but he was paying no attention to the checkout line. Kenny was in a full voice about how Gram would be complaining about everything that he and his new wife did, including any noise the couple generated. “We were going to stay in the apartment for a year to save money for a down payment on our own house. But, to hell with that. If I could, I’d prefer to move out.” He added: “it wouldn’t be so bad if it really would be just a few weeks, but I know that once she gets in there, she’ll never leave. Mom will take care of and support her forever. She’s already talked to me about naming our first child after Gram. With Gram right below us, I can see how that’ll go: in a high squeaky voice, “Kenny, you stop that racket up there!” We’ll never have kids.”
A year later, I again found myself in line while Kenny was holding forth about Gram: ” You’d think the baby was her own. It’s fantastic, Karen, and I never have to pay for babysitting. I don’t know what we’re going to do after putting the down payment on the new house. Maybe we can talk Gram into moving in.”
Someone else waiting on the line chimed in: Hey, Kenny, I remember you singing another tune about Gram before you got married. “No way! Gram is like, better than family.”