This Janet’s a pretty radical lady and has been roaming this planet, wreaking havoc, for almost eighty-five years. Considering all she’s seen in her time, I decided to ring her up for a spur of the moment interview.
After the jump, read Janet’s thoughts on the gays, meeting my late grandfather, getting older, my younger self and what she thinks of anti-gay marriage activists. Her response may not be safe for work. That’s my granny!
Meanwhile, hats off to my mother, Marsha, who took this lovely picture with her camera phone. Mom, you’re so 21st century! Xoxo.
Andrew Belonsky: Hey, Gram. What are you doing?
Janet Webb: I’m having some ice cream.
AB: Oh! That sounds nice.
JW: It’s coffee flavored. Do you want some?
AB: I would love some, thank you.
JW: Oh, I wish you were here so I could give you some!
AB: Me too! So, I’m going to interview you, okay?
AB: Alright, first, how do you feel about moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, from Florida, where you lived for nearly for decades?
JW: I like it. I like it very much.
AB: I mean, moving into your daughter’s casita, does that make you feel like you’re losing independence?
JW: Well, you know, Andrew, we’ve never been this close before.
AB: You mean geographically close?
JW: Yep. And I didn’t know how much I missed her over the years. I don’t see her every day, but I know she’s here. So everything is wonderful, honey.
AB: What about to my sister, Laura?
JW: I don’t see much of Laura.
AB: That’s probably for the best. So, how old are you going to be this year?
JW: [Laughs] Eighty-five!
AB: That’s old! Looking back on 85 years, what are three events in history that really affected you?
JW: Oh, boy, that’s really hard to answer from the top of my head. So many things have happened in my life time – World War II, Korea, all that crap. A lot of war. Too much. Um, on a personal level – I think having a family that I have had, being as happy with my husband – not that we didn’t have our disagreements, because everybody does – and here I am, content and happy in the latter years of my life.
AB: Do you still miss Papa? [Ed. note: Pronounced pu-pu.]
JW: Oh, yes. I talk to him every night.
AB: Does he ever answer?
JW: I’ll let you know when he does!
AB: Will you tell me again how you met Papa?
JW: I met him on a bus.
AB: On a bus; like a harlot!
JW: It was 1944. We had an amusement park not too far from where we lived, and every Monday night they had dances, and my girlfriends and I were all going. And he was on the bus – he sat behind us, and that’s how I met your grandfather, on the bus. While we were there he danced with us, all of us girls – there were four of us. So we danced, but he wasn’t there the next Monday night. But he was there the following Monday. He had gone to pick up – he had ordered some new dress blues, his Navy uniform – and he had gone away to get it. After that, he was with me all the time.
AB: Did he start talking to you, or did you start talking to him?
JW: Well, I don’t think any of us – we were all just jabbering away. He was by himself, which was he was most of the time until I met him, and when we got to the park, he danced with the other girls and then he asked me if I’d like to dance, and I said I’d love to, so we danced and then it was intermission and he said, “Would you like to go out for intermission with me?” And I said, “Sure.” And we went.
AB: And did you guys kiss that first night?
JW: No, no. Heck, it was probably a month or more before we got home and he said, “Well, I’ve got to run and get my bus.” And he pecked me on the cheek and that was all it was – that was my first kiss from your grandfather.
AB: Was it love at first sight?
JW: Andrew, I thought he was awfully nice.
AB: But he lied to you, though, didn’t he?
JW: Yeah. He lied to me.
AB: What did he say?
JW: He gave me a fictitious name. [Laughs] He said his name was Petrovich. And I said, “What did you say your name is?” And he said “Petrovich.” And I said, “You mean ‘Peter’?” And he said, “No, my mother named me Petrovich, and my last name is Rabinsky.” And I said, “Oh!” It was a few weeks before I found out that he was lying. A friend of his told me and I found out his name was Stanley. He was always cutting up and joking!