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    BWS Stories - NABBW and GRAND Magazine Contests Winners

    NABBW and GRAND Magazine Contests Winners - The Night Grandma Tried to Ruin My Life - Runner Up!

    Karen Hughes is a retired junior high school teacher who moved from Texas to Iowa to live closer to her own grandchildren. Karen enjoys reading, writing, listening to country music, and traveling. Of course, she loves to spend time with her three grandsons. Her grandmother lived with her family for twenty years while she was growing up. Most of the time, it was a great experience.

    The Night Grandma Tried to Ruin My Life - Runner Up!

    Grandma slipped me a note. “Don’t be surprised if the phone rings about 9:00 tonight.” I knew what this was about, and I was furious.  

    Grandma had overheard some of us discussing the upcoming prom. We weren’t going. Even if a knight in shining armor asked us, we weren’t interested. Grandma couldn’t understand. Her schooling ended after eighth grade, so she’d never been to a prom, and she couldn’t imagine why we wouldn’t be dying to go to the dance. We explained that people spent a fortune on dresses, tuxedos, and flowers, and so often had a miserable time. Too much pressure.

    She ignored our explanation. “Why don’t I call Uncle Harry’s friend Jerry Clark? His son is a freshman in college. I bet he’d be glad to take you to the prom.”

    “No, thanks. Discussion over.” That’s what I thought.

    When I got the note, I rushed down the hall and shoved her bedroom door open without knocking.  She knew I was coming because I was screeching at her. “What did you do? Tell me you didn’t call the Clarks!”

    “I just want you to be happy. I was only trying to help.”

    “I’ll be happy if you’ll just leave me alone. You’ve probably ruined my life.”

    The tirade mixed with tears continued. “I’ll never speak to you again,” I screamed as I slammed the door. “I just won’t answer the phone.”   

    When 9:00 came, and the phone rang, my mom refused to bail me out and answer it. Even though she seemed surprised at Grandma’s interference, I had to face the music. I tried to outwait the caller. Surely, he’d get tired and hang up. After eight or ten rings, I finally gave in. My heart was in my throat, and I could barely breathe. “Hello.”

    I heard a deep voice say, “Hello. Is this Karen? My name is Jerry Clark.”

    He didn’t wait for me to respond. “I know you’re probably embarrassed and really mad at your grandma. But stop and think. Not everyone is lucky enough to have someone love them enough to do something like this. You never know. Something good may come out of this yet.”

    I relaxed, but I still couldn’t talk. He continued. “Do you want to go to the prom?”  

    “Not really,” I managed to stammer without hyperventilating.  

    “I don’t really want to either. But, maybe we can take in a movie that night instead.  What do you think?”

    We planned our substitute date and said good night. That started an entire summer of dating. No, we didn’t end up getting married, but that phone call did leave a lasting impression. I vowed that if ever I had a son, I would teach him that being a big man has nothing to do with being macho or powerful. A truly big man is judged by how much compassion and empathy he shows toward others.  

    It may be a little late, but “Thanks, Grandma.”
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