February 11 — On The Wall

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis posting is a day late since I was sick yesterday.  I am feeling better today so I thought I’d catch back up.

For February 11, the Photo-A-Day Challenge was On The Wall.  This painting is on the wall of my den and means a lot to me.

Not many people probably have an oil painting of a beloved dog, but my grandfather did.  Before he passed away, he gave the painting to me, signed “To Patti” and included his initials. He then wanted me to take it home.

“Are you sure Grandpa,” I asked him.  “Yes, Patti.  We know you like it (or something like that).”

Unfortunately I don’t remember exactly what he said.  I was beyond moved as this painting held a special place in Grandpa and Grandma’s living room.  This dog was his and Grandma’s beloved miniature schnauzer Schatzi.  She was a great dog and so loving.  She was my favorite and Grandpa knew it.  Talk about a special gift.

The artist really captured how cute and sweet she was.  She had floppy ears and was full of life.  To this day, I still like Miniature Schnauzers.  When I was growing up, we had our own named Eva.  She was a sweetie too but scared of her own shadow.

Now, Ian is wanting a dog but he likes the larger breeds.  We will have to see what we can do in terms of a pet.  Not quite ready for that and all of the responsibility but they sure bring a lot of love.

I wonder what other special treasure I will come across today?  I look forward to finding out what is in store.

February 2 — Mail

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday!  Today’s Photo A Day Challenge is Mail.  These envelopes are from letters that I sent to my grandparents while I was a child.  When I was younger, we regularly sent cards to them. After they passed away, they were sent to me.  It is amazing that they kept these cards for all of these years. I think my brother and sister got their letters back as well, as well as my cousins.

My grandparents liked their stuff and didn’t want to throw away special things from their children or grandchildren.  They kept lots of things and had 8 storage sheds on their property.  I remember cleaning those out and what an adventure that was.

My grandparents lived through the depression and that might be why they kept so much.  Or they just couldn’t part with things.  I am not quite sure. I just loved the chance to go through their treasures while they were still alive and see what mattered to them.

Now that they are gone, it has been nice to re-read these cards and letters that I sent to them decades ago. I have enjoyed reading all of these letters that I wrote in the 1970s.  It is hilarious to look back at what I was into and my writing abilities.  It is a treasure.  And the cost of stamps is something else too.  Only 8 cents in 1972.  Wow – much has changed, hasn’t it?!

Today I am thankful for:

  • My amazing grandparents
  • Grandma and Grandpa teaching me about love and family
  • Reading a note from my 10-year-old self
  • Family treasures
  • Our fascinating family history
  • Grandpa’s stories on tape and in writing
  • Memories with Grandma and Grandpa at their house
  • Family sing-alongs in their living room
  • Fun with my aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, grandparents, and cousins

I wonder if I will keep special letters as long as Grandma and Grandpa did?  I may keep a few but will have to be careful.  After all, I don’t have 8 storage sheds.

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.

Dr. B’s Words of Wisdom

SRP.28_Patti.Dick.and.Artha.1986As my regular readers know, my blog is inspired by the stories of my wonderful grandfather, Dr. J.R.B.  He was an amazing storyteller and had quite an imagination.  He also wrote a column for his city’s paper for 20 years about his children, pets, his wife, family, and friends.

In 1985, he and my grandmother gave all of us in the family an amazing book of his columns and some family photos.  It is one of my favorite and most special treasures.  I love that my writing is often similar to his.  Today, I was looking at this book and came across a great column.  When I read it, I thought of Ian who has just had a birthday and my nephew Isaac who will turn 17 years old tomorrow.

This photo was taken of me with my amazing grandparents in 1986 – one year after receiving this precious gift.  I have enjoyed reading it on occasion ever since and draw inspiration from his columns and his stories that he used to tell.  I still miss both of them very much and wish they could have met my husband and son.

Here are my grandpa’s words on Parent’s Hardest Job, which was published in November 1950:

____”I’ve been watching our small son wrestle with Brownie, our family pooch.  It’s man-style wrestling now.  All at once I knew our boy is a baby no longer. The little baby has gone forever.

“Know how I feel? Like boo-hooing. I think a parent’s hardest job is watching the little ones grow up. Do you feel that way too? They grow up so doggone fast.

“Probably our regret is selfish.  One reason we love our children so much when they are little is that they make us feel very important. Their helplessness feeds our big-shot appetites. Compared with them we’re competent, successful, brilliant.

“We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t enjoy these superior feelings.

“Then they grow up. They become more and more independent. They compete with us. We become small potatoes. And we don’t like it.

“What should I do with my son, and you with yours? I should be more generous. I should get my thrill out of his new accomplishments. I should encourage his growth in all ways.

“So, little boy, go ahead and wrestle man-style. Nice to see your progress.

“The trouble is that your father is a soft-hearted old lump-in-the throat guy who just can’t seem to practice what he preaches. Oh me!”____

Aren’t these words amazing? I teared up when I read them today.  I thought about Ian and Isaac and the rest of my nieces and nephews and how quickly they are all growing up.  Time moves so quickly and there is so much change in our children.

I am honored to be able to have a front-row seat at my son’s growing up years and so many other amazing young people.  I feel blessed and humbled about that.  I wish them all the best!

I wonder if I could put this feeling into words as well as Grandpa did?  I am just glad to have his words to read and learn from.

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.”

Making The Most Of The Dash

DSC_0337Hi and Happy Monday!  This was a tough yet wonderful weekend.  We celebrated the life of my precious grandmother who passed away last Wednesday.  Dear family and friends gathered to celebrate this fine woman who I was honored to call Grandma.

The memorial service was a great celebration of her life and her faith.  My father and my brother both gave amazing remarks and remembrances about her, and the pastor who  I have known for most of my life and performed my wedding gave a very nice sermon.   And we sang a few of Grams’ favorite hymns.  We cried and laughed.

My Aunt and Dad found an amazing book called “The Dash” that was used in Dad’s remarks.  It was written by Linda Ellis.  It is truly touching and I cry each time I read it.   Here are the words to “The Dash”…

“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.  He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAFor that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash.  What matters is how we live and love, and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. 

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?”

DSC06130Isn’t that lovely?  It is perfect for remembering those dear to us and also has some great things to think about.

My grandmother made the most of her dash and taught us how to do the same.  She loved her family, friends, gardening, good food and wine, reading, and the beach.  She was deeply loved by her family and friends.

She had a lot of life in the dash from January 11, 1921 — March 26, 2014.  May we make the most of our dash as well!

March 28 – Nostalgia

Fran.Dick.ArthaHi and Happy Friday.  I am so glad it’s Friday.  We will have a weekend with family and friends and that will be nice.  Today it is raining and washing away my tears. Well, at least part of them.

Today’s photo challenge is Nostalgia.  For this photo, I decided to include one of Grams with my other grandparents who I had the pleasure of knowing.  The three of them are in Heaven together and amazing angels.  They are all greatly missed and loved.

I love how happy they all are.  This is how I remember the three of them.  From left are Fran, Dick, and Artha. I learned so much from all three of these fine people.  I only wish I could have met Fran’s hubby, my grandpa Crawford.  He passed away before I was born.

For most of my life, these gems of people were in my life.  Grams (Fran) passed away a few days ago. I was 29 years old when Grandpa (Dick) passed, and 32 years old when Grandma (Artha) passed.  I feel truly blessed and honored to have had them in my life for so long.

This nostalgic picture is great of the wood panel wall, the gold curtain, the pattern of the couch, their clothing, and glasses.  I just love it.  It immediately brings me back to my childhood.

I wonder what other fond and nostalgic memories I will have today?  I am sure there will be some.  Have a great weekend!!

 

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.