How much do you really know about your grandparents, outside of their being your grandma or grandpa?
Do you know where they went on their first date? Who asked whom out? Have you inquired what your grandma wanted to be when she was a little girl? Do you know who your grandpa’s childhood hero was?
The sad reality for many of us is that we know far too little about the lived experiences of our grandparents. We simply don’t think to ask.
But there’s never been a better time to start asking. Chances are, your grandma or grandpa would probably love to hop on a call with you and find out that you’re interested in learning about them ― who they were before they became your grandparent.
We recently asked HuffPost readers to share the one question they’re glad they asked their grandparents ― or wish they had asked when they had the chance.
See what they had to say below.
1. “What was your most memorable lesson your mum or dad taught you?” ― Diane Gottsman
2. “How would you describe your childhood?” ― Nina H.
3. “I asked my abuelo, ‘What’s the key to a good life?’ He said family and empanadas ― but mainly the empanadas.” ― Gastor Almonte
4. “What is your favourite joke?” ― Elise Golgowski
5. “How was our family affected by the 1918 influenza pandemic?” ― Cynthia O.
6. “If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?” ― Lili Michelle
7. “Tell me the story of your courtship and marriage. I actually asked my 90-year-old mother-in-law that this week and the story was a shocker. No one had ever asked and I’m taking it to my grave!” ― Gina P.
8. “What was it like between Blacks and whites during your life? Did you ever consider how wrong things were?” ― Becky Whetstone
9. If they were married before: “Tell me about your first marriage. What happened?” ― Susan B.
10. If they lived through war years: “What kept you going through those trying times?” ― Christina M.
11. “What is something about our Jamaican heritage (or whatever your background is) or family values that you would want future generations to know?” — George James
12. “What’s the secret to being married for so long without losing your mind?” ― Georgette
13. “What was it like during the Great Depression?” ― Jaron Fisch
14. If your grandma was a stay-at-home mum: “Was there a passion or career that you wished you could have pursued?” ― KarenLee Poter
15. If they adopted children: “What was the adoption process like in the 1930s? (Or whatever year it was at the time.)” ― Chon P.
16. If they got divorced: “Why did you divorce grandma or grandpa?” ― Anne S.
17. “How has the way sex is viewed in society changed since you were my age?” ― Sampson McCormick
18. If they weren’t born American: “How did you get your citizenship?” ― Christina Igaraividez
19. “At what point in dating was it OK to start blaming your farts on grandma?” ― Jason C.
20. “What’s the story behind our relative ____’s nickname?” ― George James
21. “What is the job you always wanted to have but didn’t have the chance to work?” ― Cam Poter
22. “What are the top values that you think are important for all of humanity?” ― Patty Blue Hayes
23. “What was your favourite holiday when you were a child and why?” ― Jessica L.
24. “Looking back, was your marriage a gift or a burden?” ― BK
25. If a relative died young: “Tell me about him or her? What were they like? I asked my grandmother about her only brother, who died when he was 38. She cried and cried like it happened yesterday. She really loved him.” ― Shana S.
26. If they switched careers or opted to go to school later in life: “Why did you decide to change course midway through your life?” ― Jaron Fisch
27. “What were your daily household chores growing up?” ― Diane Gottsman
28. “Tell me what you know or remember about your own parents and siblings. Where did the family emigrate from? How did they make a living? Where did our ancestors come from?” ― Lori H.
29. “How did you make ends meet with so many kids and one income?” ― Cayce Mae F.
30. “Who’s your favourite grandchild? I found out it wasn’t me!” ― Lili Michelle
31. “What made you approve of my father for my mother?” ― Joey Kidney
32. “Were you sexually satisfied in your marriage? Do you wish you were non-monogamous?” ― KarenLee Poter
33. “What is your most memorable travel story?” ― Cam Poter
34. “What is your advice on developing a rich inner world as we mature?” ― Patty Blue Hayes
35. “What’s something that you learned later in life that surprised you that you can share with me?” ― Sunny Rodgers
Blissed Connections is an editorial series from HuffPost US that explores practical ways to strengthen and deepen the relationships you have ― or want to have ― with the people in your life.