Live like you're from the Greatest Generation.

Live like you're from the Greatest Generation.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more truthful. It’s not like I’m some huge liar, but I do act excited for things I don’t want to go to and sometimes I’ll agree with people just to end conversations. Maybe my resolution isn’t to be more truthful per se, maybe it’s to be more like the greatest generation.

When my grandma was 93, I went to visit her. We were having a lovely conversation when she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You know, my daughters dote on their grandchildren. They spoil them; they’re crazy about them. I never felt that about mine.” Hmmm. I patted my knees and stood up. “Well, this is the last time I’m coming to Smith Village Senior Living,” I said and left. I’m joking. I didn’t say that to my grandma. I laughed extremely hard and said, “I love your honesty.”

People from the greatest generation didn’t give a you know what...pardone my French. Don’t get me wrong, my grandparents were polite and kind people, they were just brutally honest. When I was 13, I came home from school crying. My grandpa was over at my house. “Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” he asked. “I got weighed today in gym class. I need to lose 20 pounds!” I screamed. “No, that’s crazy. Just lose like 7 to 13 pounds. And lay off those Oreos.”

I can’t blame this on old age, their minds weren’t going. They were smart, quick-witted and good people—they just didn’t have time to worry about hurting others feelings. They survived the Depression, fought in World War II and raised Baby Boomers.

My maternal grandfather grew up extremely poor and only completed 3rd grade. When he was 16, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and was sent to live in Seattle to guard a lighthouse by himself. He eventually fought in WWII and became a Chicago police officer.

My fraternal grandmother lost her mom at age 4 and her dad at age 13. At 16, she was tasked with finding her aunt and siblings a new apartment. She went onto college and became a school librarian. When I was 16, I was begging my mom to buy me overpriced Abercrombie sweaters, not guarding a lighthouse or house hunting for my family.

Their lives were tough but they made the best of it. They were honest because it’s the one thing no one could take from them. At times, they were a little too honest but maybe that’s what people need—the honest to God truth. Besides, their honesty makes for great stand-up material.

Bridget McGuire is a Chicago based storyteller, stand-up comedian and is a co-producer of “All That Good Stuff,” a traveling comedy show that started on the Southside of Chicago. Follow her on Instagram at @bmcguire82. Bridget McGuire --COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTOR

(1) comment

Tom McGuire

Great article! And you only scratched the surface of straightforward things said honestly.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.