A recent Friday night video at our house happened to be a 1929 oldie, "Wings" with Jack Powell. The cultural experience of watching a silent film is perspective-tilting to me. This particular Air Force story was to have happened in 1917. The clothes, cars, buildings and historical scenes I found fascinating. It was easy to imagine grandparents sitting in a theater on a date watching that very movie. The interspersing black and white screens of words moved quickly enough that it occurred to me, however, that one Grandpa would have been frustrated.
He had a limited education because of the fact that farming had to take precedence over school in his youth. The issue was opportunity; not dylexia, not poverty, not laziness, nor lack of intellingence. Often the one-room schoolhouse was an unrealistic sleighride away through deep snow drifts in the winter. I remember being awed as a child learning he didn't get to go past the 8th grade. Big, dry farms had to rely heavily on the family sons' ability to work long days, long months, and long years back then.
Maybe movies have moved beyond where they used to be when reading skills came in handy; but come to think of it, a good book can beat a movie any day in my opinion. Grandpa didn't have much chance to love books like his granddaughter, but he married someone who did, and Grandma filled in the gaps for him the best she could. Actually, she is remembered for teaching reading to children in public schools, beginning as early as age 17. She was the one when we visited who sent us home with her already-read magazines, like Reader's Digest, or a latest special book.
Grandparents have many ways they can give to their posterity, and mine gave me so much for which to be grateful.