A seventy-something Grandma barely survives her career-driven daughter’s quest for children and discovers a heart-warming new definition of family.CRYO KID: DRAWING A NEW MAP (220 pages) is an exploration inspired by true experience. Written with insightful humor and a sense of wonder from the perspective of a seventy-one-year-old grandmother, it is intended to be educational, positive, and eye-opening. The author, Corinne Heather Copnick (Grandma), explores the exponential transformation that has taken place in families in her lifetime, as well as the infertility crisis currently being experienced by career women who waited too long to have children. Her own grand-daughter, the CRYO KID of the title, seven years old in 2007, came into being through an anonymous donor from a sperm bank. (The word “cryo” is short for cryogenics.) Against the backdrop of three cities, Montreal, Toronto, and Los Angeles, CRYO KID is written in several voices (narrators): the author, her daughter, the grand-daughter (a gifted child who adds so much joy to their lives), and the sperm donor. CRYO KID also celebrates the unexpected discovery of siblings across the country, as well as the surprise participation of the donor. The last chapter concerns well-researched future possibilities in assisted reproductive technology.
Corinne gives an overview of the book:
Los Angeles, 2008
A few years ago, I bought the “watch part” of a gold watch at a Los Angeles
consignment shop that sold vintage objects at reasonable prices and donated
the profits to help senior citizens. The watch was white gold, rectangular, with
little diamond chips, and fastened with a silk ribbon band in the manner of
models popular in 1925.
As a precaution, I removed the excellent antique movement and fragile silk
ribbon and put them in my safety deposit box in case I ever wanted to resell
the watch. Then I replaced the movement with a battery. The watch was now
updated in time but still needed a band. Alas, it didn’t have a pin to hold a
modern watch band, only a slot on each side where the ribbon had been
inserted. Temporarily, I “made do” with a sturdy, black leather band that an
innovative jeweler pasted into place.
Despite a search of antique and watch shops, finding a matching white gold
band was fruitless in Los Angeles. While a bracelet could be modified to fit
the watch, the gold color of modern bracelets didn’t match, and antique
bracelets were very costly. It was the same story everywhere I went, even surfside
Carmel, where an antique shop owner produced a triple strand, pearl band
that could be made to fit for an astronomical price. Surprisingly, I couldn’t
find anything in New York either.
But then I discovered Newberry Street in Boston, and at the very first
antique store I entered, there it was—my white gold watch-bracelet. Filigreed,
inlaid with onyx and moonstone, and circa 1925, it was the right color and
could be made into a band. It was more than twice what I hoped to pay. The
jeweler wouldn’t bargain but threw in the labor. He was shocked when I
bought it in one minute flat. But hadn’t I shopped around, even on the
Internet? For two years? Hadn’t I tried, way back in my college days, to make
sense of Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, with its inescapable message,
Practically speaking, I can buy the things I need, but I really can’t afford to
splurge like this on luxury items. Like so many seniors in their seventies, my
financial resources are limited.
“I am not retired.” I told myself in the minute before I bought the gold
bracelet. “I can still work to buy the things I don’t need. I want to have a goldwatch with a matching gold band before I retire.” And a minute later, I did.
Then I left it at the antique shop, so that the bracelet could be modified and
sent to me in Los Angeles.
That is how it happened that when I strolled on the broad, alphabetical
avenues in Boston, I was watchless. My left wrist, where I normally wear a
watch, was completely unadorned. I stopped a friendly-looking young man.
“Do you have the time?” I asked him, smiling. “Yes, indeed,” he replied, taking
the cell phone off his belt. “It’s just noon.”
That’s when I began to notice that time had changed all around me. Boston,
with its close proximity to Harvard, was full of young people—lots of twentysomethings.
I had a little time to kill before meeting my then forty-five-yearold-
daughter-who-still-wears-a-wrist-watch for lunch. So I asked a few more
“youngsters” for the time. All of them referred to their cell phones. Some were
already holding them, a call obviously just completed or about to be initiated.
Some reached into a jacket, others into a purse. No one was wearing a wrist
Of course. Who needs to wear a wrist watch? There’s a clock on the bedside
table, a clock in the kitchen, a clock in the car, in the office, on the computer.
And the multi-tasking, ubiquitous cell phone—already the blackberry
has succeeded it—always knows the time of day or night.
Suddenly, I felt young. I had no watch, but I had a cell phone in my purse.
Why had I asked for the time when all along I had it with me? All of a sudden,
time was on my side.
When my beautiful watch arrived in Los Angeles, I decided to wear it only
on “dress” occasions, as a curiosity, something from the past. I smiled when I
looked at the wrists of my chronological contemporaries who are still wearing
wrist watches. They couldn’t tell from looking at me that I had stepped forward
in time. But I knew. Psychologically, I had changed generations.
It’s a good thing I did, because the generations have certainly changed all
around me. Both in the generations of my growing up, and the one in which I
raised my family, it would have been impossible for me—and probably for my
children—to imagine the variations within my family today, and the ways in
which those variations have come about.
What is different from past centuries is the astonishing speed at which
these variations have occurred. As futurist Alvin Toffler points out, families in
pre-industrial times were multi-generational, and life, work, schooling, and
care of the elderly were all home-centered. The shrunken nuclear family came
about as a result of the disruptive industrial revolution, which scattered the
family in the workplace and geographically. With the information revolution
and globalization, the family is evolving once again. “Now we see not the
death of the family, but the diversification of family formats.…”1
This is not the future. This is now. Over the last several decades, my own
family’s formats have most certainly diversified. It was hard to change, to transition.
Each of us struggled with our values as we transformed ourselves, as
individuals and as a family that remains close-knit. We are a family transformed.
This book, the story of that transformation, is a voyage into unexplored
Born in Montreal, Canada, and now living in Los Angeles near her children and grandchildren, Corinne Heather Copnick, C.M., M.A., is a multi-talented writer and performer. Her career in the arts has spanned radio, television, film, and stage. For several...