Harold Lloyd, "Safety Last," & my Grandmother

As kids, I bet most of us never thought of our grandparents as ever being children themselves. I know I didn’t. Then one day my grandmother Ciurczak told me a story about a childhood indiscretion that revealed her inner child to me.

Seems my maternal grandmother was in the school choir during her high school years in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One day after choir practice, she and a group of her friends decided to go see the latest Harold Lloyd flick, “Safety Last,” which was playing at the local theatre.

Unfortunately, my grandmother forgot to let her parents know about her after school plans. She got home later than usual only to find all the doors to her house locked. She was a bit confused at first, and then it dawned on her that her parents had actually locked the doors on purpose – to teach her a lesson! They finally let her back in, of course, but they’d made their point.

The day she first told me this story, I listened intently, drinking in every detail, enjoying the pleasure she took telling it. Her eyes took on a special glow as she relived that long ago incident and experienced those childhood emotions once again. It’s significant to me not because it’s a grand tale of some great accomplishment but because it’s a small story that shines some light on my grandmother’s life and helps me to see her as a youngster capable of making silly mistakes.

I wish I’d captured her telling her “Safety Last” story on video. I know my family would treasure it.