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cloudship

Someone's trying to kill my Grandma

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You will probably find this amusing, although it is also a very telling example of how our world has changed.

My Grandmother lives in a nursing home. I was up to visit her yesterday, and she was telling me that some lady had come on the TV and wants to make her go away, because she is useless to them. She was upset because she thought they were going to take her life. I couldn't make sense of it, marked it up to her misunderstanding things again, and decided to visit her again today. Well, she was talking about it again, so I really startd to dig.

Apparently, they were listening to some speech, where a woman was talking about (what I assume was) illegal immigrants. My grandmother understood this as anyone from a foreign country. Now, my great grandparents came over from Croatia back in the 20s. I amnot sure where my Grandmother was actually born, if it was on US soil or not, but even so, they still considered themselves new to the country. They didn't understand english at first, and the community they lived in was all Croatian. This lady talking was saying that immigrants should be sent out of the country and we should stop paying welfare and social security to them. To my grandmother, this sounded to her like they wanted her to leave the country, and let her die. She was totally distraught about this.

I did my best to try and explain it to her. I don't think she was really comfortable with how I explained immigrants and illegal immigrants - to her people came to this country to start a new life. She didn't see any difference between her familly then and people now. It's amusing in some sense, as she often gets things mixed up and common understandings you and I have can mean totally different things to her. But it is also interesting to hear her point of view, that immigrants are immigrants no matter where they are from, and that is what America is all about.

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Cloud, I agree with your grandmother. My family emigrated to this coutry from Eastern Europe in the late 1800's and early 1900's and, while they were "legal" immigrants I see the current backlash against immigrants as being against my family, also. I think your grandmother knows a lot more than you may think. While I don't agree with people sneaking into this country illegally under the cloak of darkness, I DO believe we need to make legal immigration much easier and quit trying to keep people out that want to be here for the right reasons (to better their lives).

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I'm going to take a different spin on this instead of the immigration debate. Before my mother died, she was VERY influenced by what she saw on television. While I wanted her to be comfortable, she confused many things she saw on television with things happening locally and in the real world. This caused me much, much, grief and her much confusion.

The first thing to happen was she started to call me around 4am in the morning demanding me to come to the hospital. She called my cell phone 126 times (no lie) asking where I was and why I wasn't there yet. (I was asleep and had to get ready and drive to the hospital. My phone was so hot I thought it might explode!!!) She had confused an infomercial, she said she have given this nice man $5 to invest and had brought her back $5000. She had it in a pink envelope and now it was gone. I had left here $5 singles if she wanted to buy a paper, etc. About the time we were talking about it, the guy she thought had done this was on tv. It was a hard conversation.

The worst thing though was when Hurricane Katrina hit. She thought it had hit here in Winston-Salem. She thought both our houses were destroyed and the whole city was flooded. She was distraught for days. When George Bush started getting backlash over response, she confused his criticism as being directed toward me (I'm also a George, look at my UP name) and our family. It had her extremely angry and distraught. She wanted me to 'correct' the new reporters, and that is a long story in itself.

I tried numerous times to get the TV out of the room but the hospital wouldn't comply. My mother had gotten to the point that the TV was confusing and upsetting to her and making her care more difficult. I either wanted a tv with NO sound or just a radio playing music. But they wouldn't allow it. It's difficult to watch older relatives get confused by these mediums.

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Cloud, I agree with your grandmother. My family emigrated to this coutry from Eastern Europe in the late 1800's and early 1900's and, while they were "legal" immigrants I see the current backlash against immigrants as being against my family, also. I think your grandmother knows a lot more than you may think.

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Part of the problem with my Grandmother is that the lady across the hall from her has her TV up very loud. And My grandmother has a hard time grasping the concept that they are talking about different people. My Aunt has had a few issues previously, and now my Grandmother thinks everything she hears that is negative is about my aunt. Now, imagine this little old lady who all she hears is Dr. Phil all day, and thinks that she is overhearing my Aunt talk to other people. At least half of any of my visit is trying to explain to her that my Aunt is doing perfectly fine and that what she hears is about other people. What is also interesting is that there is another lady in the nursing home that she has decided is her sister (who is actually several states away). To make it even better, this other lafdy apparently (she doesn't speak anything people understand) feels the same way, and they always sit together. It's kind of cute, in a way.

As far as the immigration issue goes, I agree that it does give a new perspective on the issue. It seems to me that this is really what made America what it is today, and to suddenly become a locked down inbred nation could be detrimental. I think the issue we really have to address is if these immigrantsw are not contributing, how do we make it so that they are, instead of making it more difficult for them to?

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It is nothing more than anti-immigrant xenophobia, though today's xenophobes make themselves feel better about it by only claiming to oppose illegal immigration, despite the fact that there is no practical difference between today's immigrants, legal and illegal, and the immigrants of past generations.

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.... While I don't agree with people sneaking into this country illegally under the cloak of darkness, I DO believe we need to make legal immigration much easier and quit trying to keep people out that want to be here for the right reasons (to better their lives).

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Well, when my ancestors snuck in through Charleston, South Carolina in 1691....oh well, hehe.

I think it's sad when older relatives get confused by television. Luckily this has not happened with anyone close to me yet, although my Grandmother speaks of Chuck Norris as though he really is a Texas Ranger and a former Delta Force fighter who ran the Cubans out of downtown Atlanta after they took over. And don't even get me started on that JAG show on USA.

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My grandmother had Alzheimer's for years, and she lived to get her mail every day. The reason was because she got tons of mail from people preying on the elderly trying to get their money. Luckily my Aunt took her name off the account, so they stopped getting money, but at one point, she was convinced that Jimmy Carter was sending her mail, and she had a personal relationship with this Minister from Nebraska (we live around Hartford) was helping the poor and needed her. Really he just needed her money, but she had no concept of that.

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My grandmother, while she was at home, insisted on contributing to just about everything she got in the mail. She didn't have much money, so she would very litterally send a dime to almost all of those groups - just as she did back when the march of dimes was around.

I think part of it is that we have a changed perspective today from when she grew up. There really wasn't a big difference back then between illegal and legal immigrtants - they were all immigrants. But more so, there was a lot less of the us against them attitude. Talking of donations, I think that speaks volumes, too. Our grandparents donated a dime, a few cents even, to a few charities. Charities were needy, and you helped whoever you could. Today, charities are big businesses looking to make big bucks. But along with that, we have become cynics ourselves, to the point where raising money has had to be turned into a sales job.

I guess the moral is that you expect everyone to take your message or plea in context, but sometimes we need to think about what we are really saying, and realize it may have bigger and deeper meanings to other people.

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my mother told me a story about her grandmother who lived with her when she was younger. she would get social security stuff for a joe zerek, and my mother had no idea who it was. she kept asking her grandmother "grandma, who's joe zerek?" and the response would be "i don't wanna talk about it". one day my mother was getting annoyed because it was legal type stuff and her grandmother finally said "it's your stupid grandfather. when he came over he couldn't speak english very well and just let them make that his name".

my great grandfather's name was yuckem zukoff, he came here from either poland or russia (i'm pretty sure he came from russia). his wife was polish. i think they lived in the ukraine though (they went to a ukrainian orthodox church). she used to tell my mother stories about how the police would come in and throw their bread on the floor looking for jews. afterwards, my mom realized that they were probably hiding jews, back when they were kicking them all out of the ukraine (like in fiddler on the roof).

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It was very common for people's names to change once they got to this country. If they came through Ellis Island, they often times had no clue how to spell those names. So they would do whatever sounded closest. Also, many immigrants wanted more American sounding names, so they would change it to make it a little easier for everyone else to spell or pronounce. My great grandparents changed their last name radically - keeping a couple of syllables and that is about it. It was only in teh sixties that my father and a few of his sisters decided to change it back.

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It was very common for people's names to change once they got to this country. If they came through Ellis Island, they often times had no clue how to spell those names. So they would do whatever sounded closest. Also, many immigrants wanted more American sounding names, so they would change it to make it a little easier for everyone else to spell or pronounce. My great grandparents changed their last name radically - keeping a couple of syllables and that is about it. It was only in teh sixties that my father and a few of his sisters decided to change it back.

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