Wayback Wednesday – Grandpa and Me

img116 Yesterday, August 4, was my grandpa’s birthday.  He was born in 1908 and died in 1996.  This Wayback Wednesday photo was taken in 1990 of the two of us.  He was 82 years old and I was a recent college graduate.

We were from different generations, liked different music, had different ideas about life, and were far apart in our ages. Yet we got along very well and had some amazing conversations.  For that, I am really and truly thankful.

I still miss him and wish he could have met my husband and my son.  I think he would have liked both of them and would have been great to talk to.  Ian was born the year he would have been 99 years old, had he lived that long.

I loved his stories and talking with him.  I also love how much he loved my grandmother.  He also loved his children, their spouses, and all of his grandchildren.  He taught me a lot about the importance of family, the love of writing, and the amazing gift and talent of storytelling.

POD_March.6_Chair-Our family has grown a lot since his passing and that of my grandmother as well.  So many new and wonderful people have been born and have been growing up ever since.

I know he would loved each and every one of them.  I only wish he could have known them.  Thankfully this summer, our family was able to be together and continue his legacy.

Here is another picture of the two of us when we were both much younger.  This was a special outfit that I was wearing.  I have loved wearing hats for years and this may have been when that love began.

As you know, Grandpa and his stories are the inspiration for this blog and for much of my writing.  As I continue to write, I find many of my writings are similar to what he used to do.  That makes me smile.

He was an amazing writer and educator.  He did a lot for people.  And, he and my grandmother bought the beach house that we all still enjoy today.  I am glad to have known him as long as I did.

Some of my favorite memories of Grandpa are:

  • Sitting on his lap for storytime
  • Being taken on a ride with Willie The Elf and his adventures
  • His regular breakfast of a soft-boiled egg, toast, and prunes
  • Discussions in his front room while doing laundry
  • His advice and counsel on a variety of topics
  • His teeth in a jar at night
  • Schatzi, the precious Miniature Schnauzer with floppy ears
  • His many characters
  • “Madam, you may draw your own conclusions.”
  • “I still wonder where rainbows come from.”
  • Candy canes on a cabin
  • His sunbathing spot behind the house
  • Watching him write at his typewriter
  • His seat in the living room, which was right next to Grandma’s seat
  • Stories of the cabin and making pancakes there
  • Holding hands each evening with his wife, my grandmother
  • His voice and inflections as he told a favorite story
  • His cane and white shoes
  • The blue front room
  • His love of opera and reading
  • The pool and the large front yard

In Grandpa’s honor, I want to close with “I still wonder where rainbows come from.”  This phrase and his many stories taught me well to always be on a quest for knowledge, to rely on your loved ones, and to find a way to make the best of your life.

SRP.28_Patti.Dick.and.Artha.1986

Five Minute Friday – Story

5minutefridayHi and Happy Friday!  TGIF!!

The word for Today’s Five Minute Friday is Story.

Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Now GO …

First thing I think of is the old spiritual, “I love to tell the story.  ’twill be my theme in glory to tell the old story of Jesus and his love.”

This is especially comforting this week as we found out a classmate of my sister’s died this week.  So young and he will be missed.

SRP.28_Patti.Dick.and.Artha.1986I also think of stories and the ones that I grew up listening to from my grandfather.  Here is an old picture of me with my favorite story-teller and his lovely bride, my grandma.

Currently, I am reading a book that a friend of mine wrote.  It is a great story and one that I am truly enjoying — and finding a hard time putting down!  She did a great job and I am so impressed that she published it.

I also like to tell my own stories and hope to work on a new one very soon.  This week I found out that I am a direct descendant of a passenger on the Mayflower.   I was beyond excited to find this out.  This person was a young woman and sounds absolutely fascinating.

Can you imagine how different her life must have been from a young woman today?  It boggles the mind to think of the changes since then.

In addition to this story, I have a children’s book in mind.  Hopefully I can work on both of these items very soon.  I do so love to write and like a variety of ways to do so.  One of my favorites is on this blog when I write about whatever is on my mind.

I can’t imagine my life without being able to tell stories.  And, my son already has a gift of telling stories.  He has drawn a few that I will have to share sometime.  He also has told me some great stories before bedtime.

Now…. STOP!

I think both of us received this ability from my grandpa.  He told fantastic stories orally to us, and also did a great job writing a variety of items and slices of his life.  He is truly my inspiration.

I wonder what stories I will find to inspire me today.  I so look forward to the discovery and the process of writing them!

To read other postings on Story, please see http://lisajobaker.com/2013/08/five-minute-friday-story/

I Do Still Wonder

Hello and Happy Tuesday!

Over the weekend, my dad asked me if I was still ending my blogs with “I Still Wonder.”  I realized that I am not doing that as regularly as I used to.

When I started this Blog in 2011, I would end each blog with a phrase that started, “I Still Wonder.”  For the past 6 months, I have moved away from that — instead asking how you my readers are doing and your thoughts on the postings.

Grandpa.Barbour_PattiAs you have probably read, my title was inspired by Willie, the elf that my grandfather created and told us about in stories growing up.  Here I am with my grandpa many, many years ago.

Willie was on a quest to figure out where rainbows come from.  He traveled all over the world in search of them.  And, at the end of each story, he would scratch his head and say, “I Still Wonder Where Rainbows Come From.”

The story is under the page called “I Still Wonder” at the top of the page, just under the photo.

That inspired me to write and question and ponder a variety of topics.  I just have forgotten to include the phrase.  Thanks Dad for reminding me of that.

This week there are a few things that I have been wondering about.  Some are fun and some are more serious:

  • I wonder why we need to have daylight saving time.  There are places in the USA that don’t follow it — but instead keep the same time all year.  It is nice to have light until nearly 10 p.m. in the summer, but is a challenge with a 5-year-old who is convinced you don’t go to bed when it’s light outside.
  • I wonder why some people are so positive despite hearing the worst possible news.  How do they do it?  Like, Valerie Harper.  She was told she has months to live with an incurable brain tumor.  Yet, she is on the news encouraging people to make the most of their lives and savor each and every day.  She is very strong and truly is an inspiration.
  • I wonder why the conclave will announce that the vote has been cast for the new Pope via white smoke.  Why not by Facebook or Twitter like the rest of the world?  Last time there was some confusion whether or not the smoke was white or black.  I mean no disrespect but am just curious.  Hopefully this time around it will be clearly white smoke.
  • I wonder why a court had to rule on the size of soda that can be sold in a city.  What has our judicial system come to when we have to legislate the size of a drink?  I know that the Mayor of New York means well, but isn’t there a better way to encourage people to be healthy?
  • I wonder why television has so much junk on it but then airs several great shows — all at the same time.  When I was younger, there wasn’t as much to choose from as now.  I still have certain shows that I follow and don’t even bother with other items.   Some I have to record since they are aired at the same time.
  • I wonder if the best show of all time could be produced today.  Over the weekend, ABC aired a special about the best television shows.  You know what the best of all time was?  Spoiler alert — The show was “I Love Lucy,” which aired in the 1950s.  This was written and filmed during a very different time in history, and yet it lives on in syndication.  It truly is one of the funniest shows ever on the air.   I think we like it since it reminds us of our innocence and simpler times.  What do you think?

I will continue to wonder and ponder things.  And, I plan to share them with you.  I hope that you will wonder with me.

Ian, Willie, and Pirate Day

As a funny show once said, Kids say the darnedest things.

I know that to be true since my son continues to amaze me with what he says.

I love my son, Ian.  He is the one pictured in the new header.  He was investigating the ocean at a young age with hat on and pacifier in his mouth!  He is a lot of fun and full of wise and wonderful thoughts and comments.

To the right is a picture I took of Ian, Kirk, and myself during a recent family outing.  We were having fun and are all smiles in our shades, as you can see.

A few days ago, I wrote about Willie and that I hoped that I could do the stories justice of this amazing character that I’d loved so much while I was growing up.  A dear friend and my sister encouraged me in continuing to let Ian know about him.  And, as I’d mentioned, I have told Ian a few of the stories.

Well, what do you know, I discovered yesterday that just like his great-grandpa, Ian is a story-teller.  I discovered my journal entry from this summer.  It was dated July 19:  “Ian told me a wake-up story about a rainbow-making truck, a guy named Willie, and another truck.  He said that rainbows come from God.  He also mentioned Thin John Little (who was a character from my grandpa’s stories) and that Willie had gotten stuck up in a tree with a parachute.”

Reading this entry made me smile and tears of joy came to my eyes.  Ian had been listening and made up his own take on Willie!  How cool is that?!!!

And, I love that he has an answer for Willie’s constant question of where rainbows come from.  “Rainbows come from God, Mommy,” he told me.

After all those years of hearing that question, in one quick and short sentence, my son has a fantastic answer.  How did he get so smart?  Aren’t kids amazing?!

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As you may know, today is the 10th anniversary of Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Yes, it is a real day.  We have been talking like pirates, arg, all morning.

Ian likes pirates — well the cartoon versions of them anyway.  He likes Captain Hook and regularly watches “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.”

In the spring, we went to see “Peter Pan” at the local playhouse and Ian was fascinated seeing the story come to life.  He even got to meet the cast members, but unfortunately not Captain Hook, who was his favorite.

Ahoy mateys.  Should be a fun day of talking like a pirate with a fun boy!  Hope you have a great one too!!

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Thanks to all of my followers and those of you who like my blog!  Your interest really means a lot to me!!

I so appreciate the readership and comments from you as well!

Rainbows and Storytelling

…I still wonder where rainbows come from.

Thus ended each story about Willie the Elf that my grandfather used to tell.

That phrase inspired the name of this blog and some of my writing. You see my grandpa was an amazing storyteller and Willie was my favorite character.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching a video of several of his stories, with the one about Willie being the best (in my opinion).  The time was 1988 when our family was celebrating his 80th birthday for a weekend.  Here is a photo of me with him and his wife, my grandma, a few years before that.  This is how I remember them looking.

In looking through some videos, my mother happened upon this amazing treasure.  It was like our own little time machine.  We were taken back to another time and another place and it was amazing!!

The story we watched was my absolute favorite!  In the story, Willie travels to Knoxville, Tennessee, and finds the Sunsphere which was built for the World’s Fair in 1982.  The building looks like it has a big, gold ball on the top.  In the story, Willie is thrilled since he thinks he has found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  And as a result, he will finally get his answer of where rainbows come from.

He ends up getting stuck and his faithful friends come in and help him down, with a mug of hot chocolate to calm his nerves.  He then realizes that it isn’t the pot of gold but isn’t too upset about that fact.  He then goes back to his cabin in the woods and again says, “I still wonder where rainbows come from.”

These characters were brought back to life to me as I listened to the story with my parents, husband, son, and father-in-law.  I hope to watch this sometime with my sister and brother but am afraid we’ll all be crying too much.  I was laughing and crying tears of joy and remembrance.

I cannot describe the excitement of once again seeing my grandfather tell one of his stories.  The voice was the same as I remember and he looked exactly as I remembered. And, I remembered every word of the story, even though I haven’t heard it in years.  A few items were a bit different, but it was mostly the same.

The rest of us, however, have changed quite a bit. We all looked like the 1980s –with the clothes and the hair.  I saw my parents then at the age I am now. (Isn’t that amazing and profound in itself?)  And, I heard laughs of family members that I have heard my entire life.  Seeing my siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends was such a treat!  Our own buried treasure, that’s for sure!

Since this video was made, we have lost many dear people — such as my grandfather who passed away 8 years after this video was recorded — but we have also added so many special loved ones to the family through marriage and children.  The circle of life has continued as it always does.

My family liked and still likes to celebrate birthdays and be sure to have time together.  Our times were filled with fun and laughter, stories, and hours of singing as my amazing aunt would play each song on the piano from memory.  We were all very different people, yet loved coming together.

I am honored to be a part of this amazing family.  We have different faiths, jobs, political views, and walks of life, yet we did and still do love each other and are thrilled to see one another when we can get together.  We have learned, for the most part, to agree to disagree.  And, to me my life has been so much richer for these experiences.  You can learn so much if you are willing to listen to someone who has a different view of life.

Now, my siblings and many of my cousins have children so a new generation is growing up with the family values, stories and songs.  I hope that this videotape can help make these stories relevant to them as well.

Ian has been told about Willie and loves the stories.  I try to tell them but it isn’t quite the same, well, not to me anyway, but he loves them as I used to and still do.

He has asked me what Willie looks like.  “I want to see a picture of Willie, Mommy,”  he told me.  What he doesn’t realize or completely understand is that Willie was a creation in my grandpa’s vivid imagination and he looks different to all of my family and everyone who hears the stories.  How do I explain that to him?

One time when I was a child, I drew a picture of what Willie looked like to me, so I can show him that.  But, he may have another idea in mind.

I changed the banner at the top of my blog in honor of Willie’s quest to find answers about something he was passionate about.  In his own way, Grandpa was teaching us about following our bliss and our passion.  I didn’t realize that when I was a child and young adult since I was too busy enjoying the fun of the story.  But, I can never thank him and my grandma enough for that gift as well as the gifts of imagination, love of writing, education, family, and love.

Because of these stories, I have always loved rainbows and still do.  Last summer, a friend who lives across the street from my family’s beach house, took a picture of a rainbow with the beach house at the end of the rainbow.  That too made me cry since that house is one my grandparents bought and our family has enjoyed.

Grandpa and Grandma, you are loved and missed!  And, thanks to this video, Grandpa, you and your stories will live on for Ian and his generation.  What an amazing blessing!  Thanks Mom for finding this treasure for us!!