Grandmothers' purses always bulge with pride

June 19, 2012

You could say that it is a universal love by grandmothers no matter how old they are or where they reside. And that is the opportunity to show off those photos of those adorable grandchildren. We certainly have a lot of ammunition to choose from with all the company descending down to the beach.

These captured moments then go into our wallets, wallets that bloat and become the size of a small walrus, the leather bulging to edematous proportions.

Once they are in a purse or wallet it is an unwritten rule that they have tenure, guaranteed to never be thrown away. Some of these grandchildren are eligible for Medicare and many receive their own Social Security stipend. The collection can grow to the point where you have to put them in a special trunk that you jam into the overhead bid on airplanes whenever you travel.

Keeping these pics has gotten to be an epidemic unto itself. You know, you’ll see a cute photo of a 3-month-old, toothless and beaming into the camera light. “Your granddaughter is so darling,” you’ll say to your friend, who proudly displays the picture up for all to see.

“Is she sitting up yet?” you ask. The response is genuine, “Oh yes, she sits up beautifully.” As well she should, since the photo has been in this grandmother’s wallet for the last 30 years. In fact, this little babe is now a major in the U.S. Army special Delta Force, due to be deployed overseas any moment.

Sometimes the photo is a little blurry and comes with its own genetic family history, which is never a deterrent. “Ah, now this is my grand-niece, whose brother was defrocked by his church. He then went on to become a television salesman of dishtowels that wring out that water you see in tubs, but the grand-niece ran off with the owner of the worm farm that went out of business after the drug raid.” A smiling little girl in a first-grade photo posed in front of a fake forest looks back at you through the photographic sepia cracks of the paper.

Yes, life was easy back then. But then along came new technology, bringing with it the evil twins that threaten a grandmother’s ability to bore the socks off of people by whipping a celluloid accordion roll of 200 photographs. The fun of having friends and relatives cross the street when they even think they’ve caught a glimpse of you and that overloaded purse is a thing of the past. The very idea that you have the power to send anyone fleeing into the night has been stripped from you quicker than a pole dancer’s routine.

Yes, I’m talking about that nasty Mr. Computer, which now stores all these images inside disgusting tiny computer chips. And of course, to keep up with Mr. Computer, we also have Mr. Smart Alec Phone.

Now grandmothers are required to scroll down photos like they are some kind car with a lot of options to be chosen. You can’t drag a computer around to show off those little ones; it just doesn’t have the same feel as cornering your worst enemy on a couch with an album the size of Ohio.

Grandmothers don’t really know how these photos get on these devices in the first place. We are a group that likes to know everything about family, and believe me when I say, we are pros at interrogation. I’ve got so many things charging in electrical outlets in my house now, there is no way I can fit another one without opening a Starbucks.

The family dinner may have gone by the wayside, and polite conversation may be a thing of the past, but our coveted photographs, never!

So take those darling beach shots, with tiny bikini-clad tykes, shoveling sand in a pail and pouring water back in the ocean. They are great for Christmas cards. Just be sure you’re not in them; at least I am of the age, I can no longer be photographed. That is with fear of starting a panic.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.