When my grandma called my parents and told them her best friend was dead when she wasn’t it ended up causing a terrible chain-reaction.
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Grammy might be losing it. She’s 93 and for now lives in a rent subsidized old folks apartment but will probably have to go into a nursing home soon if she keeps saying (and starts doing) crazy shit.
Grammy’s frenemy Glinda also lives in the same building. (The woman’s name is not actually Glinda, but for this true-story article we are going to change her name, as well as the names of all others mentioned.)
Glinda is 97. She grew up in the same town as my grandmother and has been a constant in one way or another in Grammy’s life for most of it.
To Glinda, my grandmother is likely a friend. Glinda is such a nice, sweet woman.
To Grandma, Glinda is probably a friend, but I’m not actually sure that Grandma likes anyone, so mostly everyone she knows who isn’t a straight up enemy might as well just be considered a frenemy.
6:00 a.m. (on a Tuesday)
My grandma calls my parents and says that she just got a call from Glinda’s daughter-in-law and was informed that Glinda has died.
(Two weeks prior to this Glinda fell and landed in the hospital and then a rehabilitation center. The previous weekend my father took Grammy to visit her old friend.)
My mother texts me “Glinda Bosco died.” I reply, “Fuck.”
(Grammy is actually kind of an evil pain in the ass. Glinda is one of the only people that Grandma really speaks to. If she were dead then Grandma would surely then focus all her energies on making my father crazy. At present she only focuses half her energy on that.)
My mother speaks to her friend Stella who lives in the same town as Grammy and Glinda, and is very in tune with the town’s old folk gossip. My mom informs Stella of Glinda’s passing.
Stella is out to lunch at a diner talking to some old retired people who meet there to bullshit. Eventually the topic of conversation ends up as a roll call of who has died lately, which inspires Stella to mention the fresh Glinda Bosco news.
A person at another table in the restaurant overhears this, speaks up and says, “No, that can’t be! I’m Glinda’s niece. I don’t believe it. I would have definitely heard if Glinda died!”
Sometime Between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Glinda’s niece speaks with Glinda’s daughter.
My mother returns home from work and receives a call from Stella. Stella asks, “Are you certain that Glinda died? I ran into Glinda’s Niece and….”
My mother is confused. She hangs up with Stella and calls the rehabilitation center to inquires about Glinda Bosco.
“I’d like to know if Glinda Bosco passed away?”
“What is this!? You are the second person to call about this today! Who spreadin’ rumors about that poor old lady!? He daughter called her earlier crying, hysterical saying someone said her mother died. She alive! I can put you through to her right now!”
My mom declined the offer to speak to Glinda, taking the woman who had picked up at her word.
I get a text saying that “Glinda Bosco is not dead,” and explaining that Grandma made the story up.
My mom felt horrible for repeating what Grandma said without vetting it, but also thought that the days events were kind of funny, because it’s the kind of thing that sounds more like the plot of a Seinfeld episode than anything else.
I thought it might be entertaining to call up Grandma and offer my condolences, to see what she would say, but was swayed against it.
Grammy is losing it. Why did she make up the story? We can have theories, but really we don’t know. Is she seeking attention? Has her dementia taken a step forward? Who knows? I wish I could say I feel sorry for her, but she wasn’t really all that nice in her younger years (for me that was her 60’s and 70’s).
Is Grammy batty enough that Adult Protective Services needs to get involved? Very unlikely. Much more likely is that she just likes to cause trouble, because she is a nasty person, and also because it’s one of the only ways she is able to feel control anymore.
Glinda’s Niece and Daughter are likely okay, but that sounds like a roller-coaster of an afternoon.
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