I had multiple grandparents and I’m proud to say each one of them held a significant meaning in my life. With the passing of my last grandfather, my maternal grandmother is the only one who remains. My parents’ parents had quite a breadth of interest to each of them. Here’s some of things I learned…
- A previous grandfather, I used to have an in-law that was truly my grandpa. When my first grandfather died, he sent over a small bouquet of handpicked flowers that he picked. He was funny and kind and the best “generic” grandpa that ever lived – he loved his wife, he had his ornery moments. I loved him for that – he was never apologetic for who he was.
- My Paternal Grandfather, was a hero in the war. He was in the Battle of Bulge and a decorated parachute airman. He received the bronze star. He stormed the beaches at Normandy. He was the live version of Saving Private Ryan. He was effected by it, but continued to keep a strong family and provided for them as best he could. He had classically wavy hair and smoked Winston cigarillos on the front porch; he had a love for coffee and sugar. I remember my grandmother would send me hankies for Christmas, and they would smell of sweet tobacco. I still miss that smell. He was brave for being in the war, he was braver for coming through it.
- My Paternal Grandmother, knew Jesus. I would think that if she weren’t so fearful that cordless phones had cancer causing waves, that perhaps she would have had Jesus on speed dial. Her faith was unshaken. She blessed everything – on old reel-to-reel movies she used to follow butterflies around the yard (causing motion sickness for the viewer) and then place a card with hand written scriptures on the ground as if to be narrating the silent movie. She was sweet, loving. Always wanted to include everyone and have family. Always taking pictures when we’d visit in summer with all the different generations of family who’d come together. She loved flowers and monarchs and hummingbirds and truly thought that happiness and blessings were made up of such simple things as the beauty that God provided all around her.
- My Maternal Grandfather, this is the gentleman who just passed away. He was my grandstepfather if we’re being technically proper. He met my grandmother and bought her a house and married her and her four children. He loved to treat folks out to a good meal and when you did him wrong, he put “an X” on you and you were done for on his proverbial Christmas card list. He owned a pool hall my father played at from time to time. He had a great accent and reeled you in with stories and had a raspy laugh. He was a true “cool cat” in his day, always dressed snazzy. His best trait…he loved his wife. Loved her. There is a peace inside me this week knowing that he lived almost a century, accomplished so much, but had the love of a wife who would have taken his place in an instant, and he loved her so much he wouldn’t have let her. It’s the kind of love I look for and hope to find.
- My Maternal Grandmother is still alive. Sure she is, because her wish list for gifts in her 90s were red leather pants and gold bikinis. I adore, adore, ADORE, my grandmother. She moved here from Eastern Europe on a boat where she came to America and became a bread baker at 12 to help raise money for the family. She later went to work in the glass industry checking for defects in drinking glasses. She worked hard, provided for her family, got herself out of a bad marriage when that was a faux pas. She found the love of her life (and his) and she still had blonde hair. She loves jewelry and feathers and fur, she loves dancing music and vacuumed in high heels. She looked like a movie star when she was younger and is worthy to have movies made about her life. I wish she were here for 94 more years, but the time I’ve gotten to spend – makes me realize to live life big, it goes so quick.