Monday, December 15, 2003

My dad was just telling me a great story about my grandmother. When my grandma was a little girl, in the nineteen-teens somewhere-abouts, her father was head of the plasterers union in his part of Buffalo. Remember that in that era of American history, labor unions were still a relatively new, and rather radical, phenomenon. There are a lot of a great stories about my Socialist great-grandfather Martin Britt, after whom my father is named. And this is going to be one of them, so...

At one point during my grandfather's tenure as head of the plasterer's union, there was a huge labor dispute and a charter had to be changed. The problem was that somehow, they'd lost the original copy of the charter. It was a huge problem, complete with threatened violence and pressure from the government and all that.

At one point, even the Pinks were parked across the street from my grandfather's house. Grandma says that it was embarassing for her to have to walk to school every day, smiling politely to the detectives who were watching their house. Especially since she was so sure that her father wouldn't have been involved in any corruption of any sort.

Well, time passed, and eventually so did the labor problems. And one day, the original copy of the charter had even shown up and been restored, sans updating. And in short, all things went back to normal.

But grandma remembers quite distinctly, while the charter had been missing, no one had been allowed to go near the piano. I'm proud of her. 80-years later, and she's still not talking. Like a tomb, we Irish!