Hi! first time posting here and I don't even konw if I'm doing it right.
Great question because I have always wished to have talked with my grandfather on my mother's side.
How and why? Well, he died in 1982 a year before I was born. From that point on forward the gender unbalance was noticeable with 7 female family members against 2 male family members. Quite unbalanced when growing up and the values cemented on me.
For instance, it is hard to be a man when women are the majority in your family and in particular when they all hate men because their own bad experience with men in or during relationships. Like I was guilty for being a man, so I had my share of hate when growing up and up to this point.
This is related to my deceased grandfather because even though he was married he left the the house and had a mistress that got the role of the wife. From that marriage I have male uncles. That was a shock for my aunts. To have -such a male role model- so to speak. It did affect my aunts because not one of them were able to marry or have healthy relationships. They always founds married men or got pregnant without marrying.
In any case, I would like to have asked my grandfather why he left his family when he was 12. Apparently, he got fed up of being beaten up by his mom. Like what the hell! It was circa 1920s so different times back then.
Another point I would have liked to have asked my father is what was my grandmother like while being married. The accounts I have from mom are that "she was a tiger," quite fierce and dominating. So I guess not fun to be around.
Regarding pictures from the family one never knew. What if those pictures were borrowed by family members from others families as well? Oh...
I wish, as I'm now older, to have more men in the family to talk about man's issues. There is not much experience in the women in my family to talk about men or manhood. I wish to have known my grandfather, sometimes I even start talking to him about life.
Thank you for your post!
July 2019 edit: I have traced back my family heritage if you will up to the 4th previous generation. The time ranges from 1860 to 1890s: a single women from Aruba moved to my country. That's quite telling because single motherhood runs in the family heavily. Why did she move alone from one country to another? How did she survive? Her daughter was unable to raise my grandmother, and instead she raised my grandmother. So my grandmother's values are from the 1860-1890 instead of the following generation. That will forever puzzle me.