Remembering My Grandfathers

Day 105

I spend a lot of time on WordPress Reader perusing other blogs, looking for a sense of commonality with strangers, I suppose. It’s amazing what we all have in common if we let our guard down.

Today, I was inspired by Elizabeth Slaughter’s Blog: Saved By Words. Her entry today Jumping for Joy took me back to my childhood and the simple gifts my grandfathers gave me.

My Paternal Grandfather

Grandpa sitting on the running board

I have written about Grandpa before in several blogs, but most recently I referred to him as my Gentle Giant. He was a very tall slender man, who had neatly combed white hair and a raucous laugh. With me and my siblings, he was always such a gentle man. There was no hint of the rough and tough scoundrel that worked for the railroad when he and my grandmother were first married.

I am not sure they were poor, but they definitely lived off of the land and managed by wit and determination. I remember my grandfather making me a TV set out of a huge cardboard box. (At least it seemed huge to my six-year-old little body.) He cut an opening and somehow attached knobs for ‘tuning’ the channels and for adjusting the volume. I, of course, was the star of whatever show happened to be playing in my head. Such a creative toy for a creative child.

We lived with my grandparents for a while and I remember quite well my grandfather crafting a pair of stilts for me out of rough-hewn 1×2’s. I weighed very little and was not very tall at the time, but man, oh, man, I felt huge up on those stilts. There was never a moment that I was afraid. Even with splinters piercing my skin, I was on top of the world.

My Maternal Grandfather

Granny and Granddaddy 1916

Granddaddy worked in the Philippine Islands before and after he and my grandmother married. When I was born, they lived on their farm in Virginia.

Running the farm was hard work. There was always gardening to do, cows to milk and land to maintain. I loved him very much, but don’t remember him interacting on a little kid level much.

Later in life, however, when my daughter was born, he had time. I will never forget the time I brought her to see them. My Uncle bought her a walker, but she was such a little thing her feet would not touch the floor.

Following his stroke, Granddaddy used a walker to get around. I still have a vivid picture of him walking down to his shop (he was a great carpenter) with my daughter’s walker clasped between his hand and his walker. An hour or so passed and he came back up to the house from his shop and tossed my daughter’s new walker on the living room floor. “Try it now”, he said.

I put her in it, her feet touched the ground and off she went! She hasn’t stopped since. Baby walkers at the time had an X-shaped frame with springs at the junctions and wheels to allow children of different sizes to use them. He had taken the walker to his shop and hammered shims between the springs to loosen them. He was a man of few words but great love.

I was a fortunate little girl to have these two men for my grandfathers. They were such a big part of my life and the memories are so vivid as if it all happened yesterday.

Thank you, for the inspiration Elizabeth.



Day 53

I just trashed the last two blog posts I wrote. I have a few things on my mind, but putting thoughts into words and making it cohesive just is not happening for me tonight. Perhaps it is not the right time because my thoughts were more serious in nature. So now, I switch gears for the third time. Let’s see how this goes.

Memories of My Children

Today I continued to unpack more Christmas decor. I found more ornaments and decorations that my children made throughout the years.

I cut open the tape, open the cardboard flaps and memories come pouring out. I can see my children — both small and delighted about all the excitement that surrounds Christmas. I can hear their young voices playing over and over in my head. It’s magical how the mind works. It is a gift to be able to hold on to the cherished memories and yet pack away those memories we wish to forget.

I vividly remember how proud my children were when they brought home creations they made with guidance from their very patient teachers. At the time, it seemed like they grew so slowly, but looking back, the time has flown. That’s the thing about life.

Frosty the Snowman

IMG_7894One of my oldest decorations is a ceramic Frosty. He’s designed to have a candle inside him, but I never put candles inside. It sat on the table as sort of a centerpiece.

At dinner, my children always had a 1-A-Day vitamin after they ate. I can still remember them feeding their vitamins to Frosty over and over until either they tired of it or mom intervened and made them take their vitamin.

Every Day is Special

All I have to share tonight is to tell you that every little moment is special. These moments become the memories that you hold close throughout your life. And when your children are grown and living on their own, these are the memories that will comfort and sustain you.

These are also the stories you will tell your grandchildren about their parents. They love to hear all about the times when their parents were young like they are.

“Parents, keep your children closer when they are young,
because they will keep you closer when you’re old” 
Zybejta Beta Metani’ Marashi