Grandparents play important role in our lives

My grandparents are all gone now, but memories can still pull me back to those times.

 

Memories of a gift

My Grandma Jeanette died from cancer when I was in middle school so my most precious memory of her was when she taught my catechism class after school. Always the serious one, I would haul almost all my books home for homework, out of fear of forgetting something. I don’t know how I got that anxiety. It’s just a fact. But Grandma bought me a beautiful red tote bag for my birthday. Of course, my fear caused me to bring home too many books which eventually wore out my tote. It must have broken around when Grandma died because I remember how upsetting it was to have something she had given me cease its useful existence at the same time. I was angry about the tote breaking. In hind sight, the anger was a part of the grieving process.

 

Memories of service

I didn’t really get to know my Grandpa E.J. until I was an adult. My memories of him are secretarial in nature. Grandpa was passionate about his letters to the editor. He admired my way with words so would come to my house to have me type them up and tweak. Growing up though, he’d take us to the drive-in movie theater, and once during a Reagan campaign, he asked my siblings and me to walk through every community in our county passing out Vote for Reagan material. That actually got us in trouble because my dad forgot to inform my mom where we were all day. Today, I think, “Wow! Think of the steps!” I remember we were tired, but somehow all that work had been an adventure.

 

Memories of shared experiences

My memories of Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Walter are deep. I spent my growing up years visiting them or being visited by them every other week. I created family newsletters for them. Grandpa broke my pony. He stood by the silo-stave pool on my family’s farm and talked to me about boys. We stayed a week with them every summer. Grandpa would take us to the pump house, and we’d watch ball games in the park. We’d pick up the park after a wild Fourth of July celebration. The things we picked up were disgusting. I sure hope we had gloves. I cannot remember that part. He told wild stories about someone blowing up the outhouse. He made his special hamburgers. Every time I season our burgers, I think of him because I use his “secret” seasoning.

Grandma Ruth’s career had been as a furniture upholsterer. She made us book bags with draw strings when we were in elementary school. I think I still have one stored away somewhere. When Grandma moved to an apartment after Grandpa died, she wrote letters back telling me how her friends thought my letters were hysterical. My letters referenced the antics of my pets. Her responses rest with my keepsakes. I still have her ironing board, something I insisted I wanted when the sad day came that their possessions were auctioned off.

 

Sharing memories with others

One year, I went back with my kids to show them where some of my happiest childhood memories were created, but it wasn’t the same. Everything had changed. Mostly, the important people weren’t there anymore. I guess it is true, you never can go back. But the memories are priceless.

Countless memories flood my mind. I can’t capture them all here because there are just too many.

The point is that grandparents can be so important. My kids have their own memories of their grandparents. Love is the greatest blessing we can give each other. How fleeting are our lives.

Oh, how we took those moments for granted. How I wish I could go back and savor the moments. But that’s how life goes. We always think we have tomorrow.

What special memory do you have of a grandparent?

12 thoughts on “Grandparents play important role in our lives

  1. Lovely post! My grandparents were the most important people in my life growing up. Because I was the first grandchild on both sides of my family, I had the honor of having my grandparents also be my godparents. I still make grandma Mabel’s banana bread once in a while and the smell of it brings me right back to her kitchen.

  2. I never knew my maternal grandparents, and barely my paternal grandfather. But my paternal Grandma…yes, she gets the name with a capital “G” took care of me many, many times, and we faithfully went to see her for dinner/supper which was served at 3-3:30 (!!!) every Saturday and many Sundays my dad would go get her and bring her to the house for Sunday dinner/lunch. She never learned to read or write; she made the hottest chili you have ever tasted with cabbage as an ingredient (!!); every day that she took care of me she made me a hamburger and French fries, because I was a finicky eater and that’s what I liked; and she always had Hershey bars in the closet for a treat – not to mention money for the ice cream boy who drove around on a bicycle type cart every afternoon. She died when I was 16, and was the person who told me the week I was staying with her when my parents were on a camping vacation (I hated camping!!) that I had her permission for my now husband to take me to buy my very first car which cost $40!!! As Michelle said, lots of good memories.

    1. Wow! Your Grandma was an interesting lady! I wonder why she wanted to eat so early. Did she get up early and go to bed early? I enjoyed hearing your memories. Very fun. I was smiling through them all. I can’t believe your first car was only $40! Amazing! Like you said, lots of good memories.Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  3. Fascinating blog, Michelle.
    My paternal Grandpa Byron McNees was a small man. He owned a farm in Benton Center, Michigan. He was fairly quiet, but also very polite. He died when he was 76. My Grandma McNees was born in Michigan, but she was adopted in when she was one and half. Her adoptive parents then took her back to Michigan where she lived and died. My most vivid memory of her is the day she went to Deer Forest with me and our three children. She was 76 when she died.
    My maternal grandfather (Frederick Kugle), was deaf most of his life. When we went to visit him and grandma, he was always sitting at the kitchen table reading a paperback western. He was very proud of his Model A Ford. He would always acknowledge us, but he never spoke. He was very proud of his Model A Ford. He was 87 when he died. My Grandma Kugle was also adopted. When she wanted to talk to grandpa, she would have to shout. She crocheted beautiful items, including tablecloths. She was 94 when she died.

    1. Thanks for sharing your memories, Donna. I enjoyed learning about your grandparents. I found it interesting that you have two grandmas who were adopted. I see the love of reading is a family trait. 🙂 Did your grandpa take you for rides in his Model A? Crocheting such beautiful items was a wonderful talent to have. My grandma’s sister taught me to crochet, though I seem to only remember two stitches. I’m disappointed that my memory has failed me there! Again, thanks for sharing!

  4. Michelle, I have several books about crochet, including at least one with instructions on how to do a number of stitches. I will gladly share them. If/When you are ready (meaning have the time) to learn some new ones, let me know and we can plan a time to get together.

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