Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Grandmother’s Wisdom

2012-12-15 13.14.54My grandmother lived with us, so I felt like I grew up with two mothers. Among the maternal nagging and gestures of caring, here are five things she used to say that I find myself still thinking about:

  1. “The kitchen must be clean when you are finished with the cooking.”
    • She meant it literally: that you need to think through the whole process and clean up as you go, so that when the cooking is done, the kitchen is clean
  2. “You leave a place cleaner than you found it”
    • …then it will never be dirty
  3. “When you open with the drawer with your right hand, you close it with your left.”
    • There is a loop or a symmetry to things we do: when you start it, you also have to finish it
  4. “You are who you are after 30. Assigning blame (on your parents, circumstances, etc.) only reflects your lack of willingness to make something of your life.”
    • Her version of “you play the cards you got dealt” and assigning blame takes you away from playing the game the best you can
  5. “What does it mean when they say…?”
    • When I was still young (but already learning English), my grandmother would ask me foreign words that were adopted into the Japanese lingo: I remember her humility but also her asking me and no one else made me feel special

I couldn’t make it for her birthday this month, but hope to repeat these sayings in person when I visit her next.

2 comments on “On Grandmother’s Wisdom

  1. sunshineinfrance66
    February 19, 2015

    That is some great advice! My grandmother lived with me all through my childhood as well. Great memories! She taught me how to make pies and cookies, all the rules of baseball. We watched Love Boat in her bed every Saturday evening, and Miss USA and Miss Universe every year. She was excentric and hilarious, a chain smoker of non-filtered Camels. I remember watching her pick bits of tobacco stuck on the tip of her tongue. She taught me every bad word in the book and slept with a statue of Bouddha next to her cup with her teeth inside. Not sure what wisdom she taught me, though. When we would play Gin rummy and someone would go off the winning streak, she would wiggle her finger and say “The worm turns!”. Some of my very best and clearest childhood memories have her in them. She died when I was around 14, already over 80 years old. How old is your granmother today??

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lavayoda
    April 1, 2015

    Jenny, thanks for sharing. She sounds delightful. If you ever write a screenplay, you gotta write her into your story! My grandmother is 90 and I hope to see her within a month.


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This entry was posted on February 17, 2015 by in Biography, Family, Japan and tagged , .
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