Family Love and Memories

img116Yesterday, I watched two DVDs of my grandfather’s 80th birthday party.  One DVD included his stories and some songs and the other included memories of him and toasts.

We celebrated his 80th in 1988.  Hard to believe it was that long ago now. It was amazing to see all of us circa 26 years ago.  So much has changed since then.

In this video, I saw my grandpa (inspiration for this blog), my grandma, Grandma’s maid-of-honor and family friend Evie, our family friend Wayne, who was like a second grandfather, and his amazing wife Rett.

They have all passed away and were fascinating people.  I was enriched for having known all of them.  Evie was a pilot and had great stories to tell, Wayne was a fireman, and Rett was Grams’ best friend.  The fact that all of them lived such long and amazing lives is wonderful!

This photo was taken a few years after this birthday celebration in the same room where the video was recorded.  I spent a lot of time in this room through the years and loved it.  The turquoise walls, Grandma and Grandpa’s chairs, their piano, artwork, and knickknacks make me smile.

I also noticed that some important people who are now in the family weren’t back then.  Many loved ones have joined our family through marriage and births.  It is amazing to think that my grandparents now have 18 great-grandchildren, if I haven’t left anyone out. The family love has continued to grow!!

As I watched this DVD, my eyes welled up with tears as Grandpa told stories of Willie, and several other characters that he made up.  It was such a gift to again hear his voice as I remember and the lines that each story would end with.  It took me back to my childhood and all of the fun times we had as a family.

As I have written about, each Willie story would end with his scratching his head and saying, “I still wonder where rainbows come from.” The entire family would always say it with Grandpa.  Chills to see and hear that again!

The family singing was magical.  My amazing Aunt Linda can play almost anything on the piano without music, and often transposes the key as needed.  She did this on the DVD.  All of us in the family sang along to a song wishing a special birthday to Grandpa, also to a song that Mom had written about the family for Grandpa’s and Grandma’s anniversary, and several favorite show tunes.  As I watched the singing, I sang along again.

It was wonderful to be back in the family cocoon.  Kirk and Ian watched it with me and asked about the people there.  Ian was amazed to see his grandparents and his mother looking 26 years younger.  “Wow, Mom, is that you?” he asked.  “Yes, Ian. It sure is,” I told him.

I was so happy to watch these old videos of how I remember my grandparents and their house looking.  To see it again and all of those people whom I love so much was an amazing treasure.  So many happy tears and happy memories.

It has been a few years since I have seen my cousins and aunts and uncles.  We are planning a family reunion for next summer and I cannot wait!  It  is great that the fourth generation of our family loves to be together as much as the rest of us.

I wonder what amazing memories will be made and recorded at this next gathering?  I am sure there will be many and I am so looking forward to it.

Happy Grandparents Day

fran-dick-arthaDid you know tomorrow is Grandparents Day?  I didn’t until recently looking at the calendar. I was blessed with knowing three of my grandparents for most of my life.  Here are the three grandparents I knew. From left, they are Grams (Fran), Grandpa (Dick), and Grandma (Artha).  This was circa 1970s at the house where I grew up.

All three of them had long and amazing lives.  Grams lived to be 93 years old, Grandpa lived to be 86 years old, and Grandma lived to be 92 years old.  I only hope that I have such a long and wonderful life as they had. I never had the privilege of knowing my other grandfather.  He was quite a man from all I have heard. He would have loved his family.

My siblings and cousins were blessed to have these amazing people in our lives. All three of them taught me so much.  They taught me about the importance of family, the gift of education and its importance, the ability to write and tell stories, the necessity of hard work, the love of teaching children, the enjoyment of music and singing, and the ability to laugh and make the most of my life.

I still miss each of them so much.  I loved them dearly and know that they all loved me as well.  The fact that I had one grandparent until well into my 40s is such an amazing blessing.

Now, my parents are wonderful grandparents to Ian and his cousins.  They are called Grandma and Grandpa.  Up until recently, Ian called Dad Auguguk.  This was a name he made up since he couldn’t say Grandpa.  My husband’s parents are Gran and Grandpa Cates.  They are also great with Ian and his cousins on that side of the family.

I am thankful to all of them for how much they love Ian and enjoy spending time with him.  It is really great that the wonderful grandparent tradition has continued with them.

To my grandparents, I am thankful for:

  • Learning the ability to speak for myself
  • Encouraging me in my dreams
  • Making a point to have the family get together
  • Having a beach house where our family can continue to gather
  • Listening to me when I spoke to them
  • The gift of my cousins, and aunts and uncles
  • Telling me about Willie, Mrs. Oheyou, and the importance of wondering

To my parents and in-laws, I am thankful for:

  • Times you play with Ian
  • Taking Ian on bike rides at the beach
  • Buying him a bike with training wheels
  • Reading with him and now listening to him read
  • Spending time with him and his cousins
  • Watching him so Kirk and I can have date nights
  • Loving our son as much as you do

Here are a few quotes about grandparents:

  • “Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” ~ Alex Haley
  • “When a child is born, so are grandmothers.” ~Judith Levy
  • “Grandchildren: the only people who can get more out of you than the IRS.” ~Gene Perret
  • “Few things are more delightful than grandchildren fighting over your lap.” ~ Doug Larson
  • “A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart.~Author Unknown

In honor of grandparents day, I want to end with what my Grandpa ended all Willie stories with, “I Still Wonder Where Rainbows Come From.”

93 Years Young

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday.  Today is expected to be a rainy one.  Oh well, at least it’s not feet of snow.

We had a fabulous weekend.  How about you?  We had some time to relax, watch some fun shows, and also party with a very deserving birthday girl (well woman).

Saturday was my grandmother’s 93rd birthday.  We had the pleasure of celebrating with her.  Some of the family and friends gathered together. We had a great lunch, cake, and time to visit.

Grams opened her gifts and truly appreciated what she received.  Ian had drawn her a special picture and she listened intently as he explained what it was.  And, he wrote, by himself, her name on a card.  It looked great!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThe entire family and more friendswill be together in a few weeks for a big party celebration.  Should be fun and a very rare treat.  I just hope and pray that everyone stays healthy and can make it!  Our  family has a silly tradition of reversing our candles on the cake — so her’s was 39.  Cool, isn’t it?

I feel very blessed to still know and love my Grams.  She is such fun. As I wrote about her last year, she likes a good bottle of wine, real cheese and cream, a sunset at a favorite beach, sailing, gardening, reading, and being with her loved ones.  She also likes word finds, good desserts, and pictures of family. We are blessed and honored to be a part of her family!

A book of quotes that I have has a nice one, “Birthdays are a time to reflect on the memories of yesterday, the joys of today and the dreams of tomorrow.”  Congratulations Grams on another great year! Another one states the way that Grams has lived, “Happiness is living well, laughing often, loving greatly.”

And as Pablo Picasso said, “It takes a long time to grow young.”  Here’s to you Grams!  Love you and look forward to another fun celebration of you and your amazing life! You are 93 years young!!!

November 8 – Someone I Miss

SRP.28_Patti.Dick.and.Artha.1986Hi and Happy Friday!

Today’s photo challenge is Someone I Miss.  I miss the two people in this picture with me — my Grandpa and Grandma.

This photo was taken in 1986 at our family beach house (pre-renovation). This was the summer I graduated from high school and was going to college that fall. The time I spent that year with the two of them was beyond special and something I will never forget.  The time with the rest of the family was also awesome.

This is how I remember them looking.  They usually had smiles on their faces and loved being with their family. I learned so much from them – about love, friendships, family, the importance of hard work and finding the right career and passion, teaching, writing, storytelling, and the list goes on.

I am so very thankful to be part of their family and to have known them for as long as I did.  What a true and amazing blessing.

As my frequent readers know, my grandpa is the inspiration for this blog and its title.  He was a great educator and writer and I like to think I am following in his footsteps.  Some of my writing is similar to his style and for that I am glad.

Grandpa died in 1996 and Grandma died in 2000 — a long time ago for both, but I sometimes can still remember a conversation like it was yesterday.  That to me explains the relationship and positive influence they were in my life.

They are loved and remembered fondly.  Can’t ask for more than that, can I?  Who do you miss?  I hope that your memories are fond ones and not full of pain.

May you have a blessed weekend.