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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 49
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
Monopoly with Grandma
Matthew Davis
Monopoly with Grandma

When I was five years old, my grandfather died. Honestly, I don't really remember him or the funeral, but the repercussions of that event still affect me today. After my grandfather's death, my grandmother Grandee came to live with us for nine months. I do not recall any big and glorious memories from this time, nothing exciting or philosophical. Mostly what I remember from Grandee's time with my sister Parker and me was the Monopoly games we played. Yes, I know Monopoly may seem like a trivial way to spend time, but for us, it was meaningful. One of the reasons these games were unique was because of whom I was playing with. My sister has Down syndrome, and my grandmother had cerebral palsy, so these games proved to be interesting. I am competitive, and was more so as a child, so I wanted to beat my opponents quickly, again and again. And I also was somewhat conniving, so I thought I would be able to easily take advantage of my fellow players, but that proved to be a harder than expected. Game after game I would end up bankrupt or with two properties and thousands in debt. I realized something was thwarting my path to victory: the brain. And throughout the games I would get frustrated and angry because I did not understand why my sister could not give twenty-six dollars to Grandee for landing on Madison Square Garden or why Parker couldn't give change for a one hundred. Instead of becoming impatient, my grandmother, however, patiently explained and demonstrated to Parker how to perform the tasks that I take for granted. What amazed me wasn't Grandee's ability to explain concepts clearly; that has always been apparent. The fact that she still helps people amazes me because society has often shut the door in her face because of her physical disability when it was she who needed help. This Monopoly game caused me to see other things differently, too. I noticed that Parker also showed compassion and discipline during those games and still does. Never once did she complain about how difficult adding was or making change, nor did she choose to be a vicious Wall Street tycoon when it was time for me to pay up. Even when classmates have taken advantage of or belittled Parker, she has always kept a genuinely positive and optimistic outlook. I can only hope that I will one day be as intelligent, as inspirational, and as compassionate as are two of the remarkable people in my life. I believe that growing up and living around people who are different from you makes you a better person and changes your outlook on life. I can believe this truth so strongly because I witness every day an older sister who has Down syndrome. My sister will always find the right answer to any problem that faces her, but it just takes her more time. Because of this, I have become patient, and I have learned that judging a book by its cover is fruitless because that person will prove you wrong. If you were walking down the sidewalk and saw my grandmother, you would immediately see her limp and crippled arm and think, “Oh, that is so sad.” In fact, she will be the smartest and most resourceful person you have had the pleasure of meeting all day. I would not be the same person I am today without these influential relationships with two people who work just a bit differently, not incorrectly. And yes, we still play Monopoly games... and no, I'm not winning.