Grandma and “dispositional gratitude”

A column by David Brooks (NY Times) brought my grandmother, Anna Catherine (Nancy) Campbell Platt Norris to my mind and heart. In the view of most, she had a hard life. At the age of 20 with no education beyond grade school, the father of her two little girls under three left and was never heard from again. She worked as a domestic her entire life–housekeeper, practical nurse, surrogate mother. She took care of her sister and her mother. A second marriage ended when she was widowed in her early sixties. When she died at 95, her grand daughter Sgt. Virginia Sciolaro KCPD arranged a full presidential escort from the church to the cemetery. Grandma would have enjoyed it all the more because it was unexpected.

With plenty of reasons to be resentful and to have a negative view of life and people, she never expressed those sentiments. When her grandson, Gerry Doyle, interviewed her for a high school journalism assignment, his final question was this: What was the worst time in your life? She considered this briefly and then answered simply, “I never had a worst time.” My grandma surely had this “dispositional gratitude” of which Brooks writes.  You can read his insightful column here:

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