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?