Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Barack Obama Writes of His Grandmother

A planned in-depth review of Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father isn’t likely to happen, at least not before the election. It’s a good book, a young man’s journey to find himself, primarily through his exploration of family relationships.

However, in honor of his grandmother, who died last Sunday, let me instead bring out some of quotes from the book that highlight her life.

On his grandparents’ courtship (p. 15):

I sometimes imagine them in every American town in those years before the war, him in baggy pants and a starched undershirt, brim hat cocked back on his head, offering a cigarette to this smart-talking girl with too much red lipstick and hair dyed blonde and legs nice enough to model hosier for a local department store.

On his grandparents meeting his father (p. 17):
Gramps is probably too busy telling one of his jokes or arguing with Toot [his grandmother] over hot to cook the steaks to notice my mother reach out and squeeze the sooth, sinewy hand beside hers. Toot notices, but she’s polite enough to bite her lip and offer dessert; her instincts warn her against making a scene.

On his grandmother’s job as a bank vice president (56):
Without a college education, she had started out as a secretary to help defray the costs of my unexpected birth. But she had a quick mind and sound judgment, and the capacity for sustained work. Slowly she had risen, playing by the rules, until she reached the threshold where competence didn’t suffice. There she would stay for twenty years, watching her male counterparts kept moving up the corporate ladder, playing a bit loose with information passed on between the ninth hole and the ride to the clubhouse, becoming wealthy men.

She sounds like a fascinating woman.


Muddy said...

Though he doesn't know I exist, Mr. Obama and I have a common ancestor (on his mother's side) who was born in 1659 (if I remember correctly). I can only imagine what his life must've been like as a child.

Thanks for the quotes!

AboveAvgJane said...

Glad you liked them. Not many of us consider our grandparents as impetuous teens.