Thursday, March 27, 2008

One defining moment

I was screening through some You Tube this afternoon during lunch and decided to search up some ABBA videos.

The moment I started to hear and see The Winner Takes It All, an extremely nostalgic feeling overwhelmed me.

ABBA was introduced to my sister and I by our maternal grandfather. I should have been about 13 years old then. My parents had taken a trip to France and my sister and I were left with my grandparents in Ipoh. We were to stay there for 2 weeks or thereabout.

My grandparents were staying with my mother's youngest sister in Ipoh then. She is a teacher and therefore spent the mornings at school. So, in the mornings, my grandfather was left in charge of taking care of us. My grandmother was frequently preoccupied with the cooking, cleaning and all other things. Also, we being cantonese illiterate then, could not hold a decent conversation with my grandmother.

My grandfather however, spoke perfect English. He was a English teacher in his younger days. He was also a firm believer of filling up our time with all things useful. And therefore our mornings were filled with loads of activies.

He was a very active man.
He took us for walks to the nearby shops and let us pick out some goodies to eat.
He took us along on bus rides to the nearest shopping complex to get some music videos.

He was a creative man.
He enrolled us in art classes with a neighbour. It was the first time I realised the power of paint!
He loved music and would always fill the house with great songs.

His favourite at that time when we were there was ABBA. He would bring us to the shop and allow us to choose an ABBA video to purchase. He had an amazing system which he would whisk out and kindly tell us that this particular video already contained almost 70% of all the songs he already had at home.

In the afternoons, especially after the purchase, he would play it for us over and over again. My sister and I started to pick up on ABBA's dance moves and waltzed around the house!

Such was the love for music that he engrained into our soul! The love for ABBA actually.

This was a defining moment in my life. Everytime I hear an ABBA song now, I can rememebr the fun we had spinning around dancing to 'Dancing Queen'. And we always watched Xanadu by Olivia Newton John every other day.

I also remember the minced pork patties that my grandmother used to make for us while we were there. Her ice milo was heavenly. The homecooked noodles she made for us every morning.

And my aunty playing the alphabet game with us. You choose 5 categories like animals, states, food etc. and if we choose A, we have to think of an animal beginning with A and a state beginning with A etc.etc.

And to top it up, my uncle from Australia was also back at that time and had a girlfriend, who is now my aunty! I think that was the first time I had an idea of what relationships before marriage were all about!

My grandfather has since passed away. I had just started work when it happened. I cannot say that I was really that close to my grandfather. But everytime I listen to ABBA again, I remember the impact he made in my life that few weeks.

I shall never forget him. And I will remember him always for the vitality he had in his life up to the end. And though deaf, he even took the bus to church every Sunday morning to pay tithes.

One great man. One defining moment.....

Do you have your moment?


Moomykin said...

Grandparents are always special. They do have an impact in our lives that no one else can replace. :)

hey, We played the alphabet game too, but we had like 7 categories including animals, flowers and famous people.

andrewjune said...

my grandfather passed away when we were still very young so I couldn't remember much...
i can only remember the times we all go for mass every sundays and the breakfasts with my grandmother...
and Ann, me and hubby has the whole ABBA album :-)

Ann said...

Mommykin - I think it was one of those great games that got us kids to really think! My aunt used to get it so fast and she will go do the laundry or wash dishes while my sister and I would walk around or look at books to find some answers!

Reckon that was a trick ya!

Andrewjune - you are into ABBA too ya! So sad the way they parted! And you do have the BEST memories with your grandparents - nothing like a mass breakfast memory!

Anonymous said...

with such powerful influence from your grandfather, i am sure you will pass on his love for you, to your son. you would encourage your son to paint, to listen to ABBA and also to have lots of creative and fun moments in the mornings.....

even reading your story bought tears to my eyes.

i never had such love, and i would never know how such tender love would feel like in my heart...but i am sure NOT deriving my Happy Dot of it, so it's very warming and comforting to see him being so close to his paternal and maternal grandparents.

thank you for sharing such lovely story, Ann...and sorry for my long and nagging comment!

Ann said...

KM - your comments are very much welcomed.

It is good as parents that we see what we have missed in our life or what was wrong with our childhood and try to make it better for our kids!

I reckon that is the greatest blessing you will bring to your son!