Fond Memories and Lessons Learned.
I have fond memories of my grandparents.
It’s National Grandparents Day today. While some suggest it’s a holiday that Hallmark Cards, Inc. created in order to sell more greeting cards, it is indeed a “real” holiday.
National Grandparents Day was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and on September 6, 1979, a presidential proclamation made it official. National Grandparents Day falls on the Sunday following Labor Day every September.
In my house, we don’t “celebrate” the holiday, but I thought it would be fun to share a few pictures with my siblings and cousins. I have a few scanned favorites that our family has used for reunions so I decided to go look for them on Shutterfly.com this morning.
While going through pictures, I found myself rather nostalgic. (I can’t lie…I get “lost” and do this frequently when visiting my Shutterfly account).
A Granddaughter’s Reflections
My Grandpa Dalton (Papa/Bert) used to bet me six cents at dinner time. He’d place one nickel and one penny on the table and we’d bet on who would finish dinner first. I thought it was a neat idea, but really it was merely a ploy to get me to eat!
He was a man who liked things organized and tasks completed in a timely manner after work (I get that). His garage was immaculate. Everything had its place and tools were neatly placed on the wall as if on display at a retail store.
But he also had a very silly sense of humor. My mom likes to share a story of him putting string beans in his ears to make her laugh. Although I wasn’t there to witness it, I can visualize it and it makes me laugh too!
His humor was definitely passed on to my dad, and now my brother carries on the tradition. Grandpa Dalton died right before I turned 10.
Grandma Jensen (Grama/Viola/Vi) was a spitfire (and I think that’s an understatement). She didn’t like the time I was visiting and stated I thought President Nixon was sorry and that we should give him another chance.
This was a comment I made during a newscast we were watching at her house. Her exact response was, and I quote, “You don’t have a brain in your head!” I guess she didn’t like my opinion.
But she was also loving, a creative crocheter, (I am blessed to have one of her Granny Square blankets), and fiercely loyal to her sisters who were also her best friends. (One of her sisters lived across the street and arrived for coffee every morning!).
Staying with Grandma and “Grampa” in the summertime meant walking to the El Cerrito Plaza where we’d enjoy a milkshake at Woolworth’s or she’d buy me a new small spiral tablet and pen (which I called a diary).
We also loved cutting up Meyer’s lemons in her and “Grampa’s” backyard with plastic knives. Days in their backyard were always fun. Sadly, she passed away when I was 14.
Grandpa Jensen (Grampa/Vern) was a peach. (The Online Slang Dictionary refers to the word peach as: “A sweet or nice person” and that will always be my view of him).
“Grampa” was known as a modest man who could build or fix just about anything. He built a wooden boat when he was very young, rebuilt and expanded his garage, and helped others on numerous big projects.
At one point, he decided to create a small wooden windmill which everyone ended up admiring. It was part decor and part gopher deterrent from what I remember. It didn’t take long before he was making them for everyone!
Losing Grandma was a big adjustment for him. He had never managed their money nor paid bills, but my mom helped him figure that out. He started visiting us in Napa more often and increased his trips to Southern California to see my uncle. He even went to Hawaii!
After Grandma passed, he spent every morning at “The Donut Shop” at the Plaza and made an afternoon stop there as well. (We’d get to go too when we visited). He made some great friends during that time and we all felt good knowing he had so much companionship.
We were blessed to have “Grampa” into our late teen and young adult years. We celebrated his 70th birthday with him and are blessed to have the photo marking that big day. He was with us another 10 years before passing due to complications related to Alzheimers Disease and we will miss him always.
Our Grandma Dalton (Grama/Elma/Loraine) was another spitfire, but she was more discreet with her dissatisfaction of things.
Grama was a devout Catholic who sometimes questioned rather she’d missed her calling of becoming a nun, however, the birth of her son (our dad) changed everything.
She loved that little boy with every ounce of her being. She lost a daughter at birth and was unable to have any more children, so he was her “one and only”. She was an active and involved mom and loved interacting with the many friends my dad brought into their home through the years.
Grama was known for making most of her clothes, (she was a very talented at-home seamstress). Moreover, she was known for her beautiful garden, scrumptious applesauce, and delicious Chocolate Chip cookies! (We also loved the cookie jar she stored them in which now resides with my brother).
My favorite part of her home was her favorite as well. Her backyard was her bit of Heaven, and her therapy as well, when times were tough.
She loved tending her roses and bringing in fresh cut flowers to enjoy herself or share with others. Some of her roses were originally from her mother’s yard and were nearly 100 years old.
Her Gravenstein Apple Tree had been in her yard almost as long as the sixty years that she lived there. Moving her out of her home was tough but we knew she lived a very content existence in that home and that gave us peace.
I recently saw a picture of her “newly” remodeled house and was crushed that her roses were gone. However, my heart was happy to see her apple tree was not only in the photos but thriving! I know she would love that. (If I only I could get my hands on some of those apples!).
“Grama”, our last living grandparent, lived to the age of 93. Not too shabby! We will miss her always and giggle a bit when we reflect upon her last few years. Her “sass” definitely came out during that time!
Not all memories of my grandparents were good… and my grandparents weren’t perfect. Nevertheless, I was so lucky to have them for a time, to learn from them, and to laugh with them!
Are you one of the memory keepers or storytellers in your family? Stay with it! You will be blessing future generations with your efforts! How