I saw this on PostSecret this morning. My grandfather passed away 14 years ago. I still miss him and wish I had said more of these things to him too. Especially the 9 months prior to his death. It was a hard time in our family. My grandmother had passed away and it was the first death for all of us that hit so close to home. Grandpa tried so hard to go on, but Granny definitely left a hole. I spent a good amount of time with him, but I wish I I had been able to help him through his grief instead of trying to avoid it. I would give almost anything just to hear him laugh say ‘Molly my dear!’ once again.
I think I’ve mentioned my grandpa’s twice daily walks on the beach and his proclivity for collecting rocks. Most of the time he would bring them home and toss them in the rock polisher. He had two rock polishers going day and night.
At first he just put the polished rocks in his back yard walkway. Then as Granny started hounding him for bringing all the rocks home he started making stepping stones.
My parent’s have two mosaics at the bottom of their deck steps in the front and back of the house:
This one needs a bit of spring cleaning. The letters spell KAY’S
Anyway, I was down at my parent’s last weekend and there was a surprise!
My Grandpa made a set of stepping stones out of my name. My dad had them stashed under the back deck and recently rediscovered them. :) I can’t wait to bring them home!
Happy Birthday! Mom and I went out and watched for shooting stars and talked about you. I even saw one!
I am the oldest of four grandchildren on both sides of my family. I was the first to experience all the growing up ‘milestones’: kindergarten, turning thirteen, driving, graduating from high school, voting and even moving into my own apartment. Sometimes it was hard to be first. I was so afraid to move out on my own. So much so that my mom and aunt actually found and filled out the rental agreement for my apartment.
For all I was scared to move out, other members of my family were very excited. My aunt helped stock my pantry and passed on some kitchen utensils. My grandmother bought my first set of dishes (they had pink flowers around the edges), cookware (pink Visions) and silverware. My parents helped me buy household items, furnishings and move everything.
Perhaps the most excited was my grandpa. He went out on his own and bought me a skillet, salt & pepper shakers and a can opener.
He told the story of how he asked the sales lady for advice so many times. He was so excited I was starting this new chapter in my life and wanted the perfect gift to help celebrate. The skillet lasted many years, as did the salt & pepper shakers. The can opener was replaced by one easier to use and has been on a shelf in my room. When I used that can opener I saw my grandfather’s smile, heard his excitement and felt his huge hug when I thanked him.
So funny how a simple tool can do so much. I’m going to pass it along now and hopefully it will bring a special memory to the next owner…
100 Thing Challenge, Dealing with a Lost Generation
Last fall my Granny Kay passed away. At the age of 94, she was the last family member of my grandparent’s generation. You know, ‘that’ generation, the one that lived through the Great Depression. She was born in Oklahoma, so her early life experience had the double whammy of the Dust Bowl. Her family was forced to pack up and move out West. I’m sure she lived a full and interesting life. I wish I had been able to talk to her more about her life, but we weren’t close. She was pretty guarded and delving too deep was uncomfortable.
We spent many weekends at her house playing croquet and enjoying family BBQ’s on the covered patio. One time I went walking with her and her friend and found the glove she lost a couple days prior. When she first moved to Whidbey Island, the tent caterpillars were so bad. She would spend the whole day sweeping them off the deck. She’d start at one end and by the time she reached the other end they would be just as bad as when she started.
Up until the last year of her life she lived on her own and last Spring she moved into an assisted living facility. Her house sold fairly quickly after putting it on the market in December. My dad had less than a month to empty her house so he brought it all home. A few weeks after having her stuff in their living room, Mom called my brother and I in to go through it one last time before it went out of our lives.
At that time, I had started purging my own house and the idea of going through someone else’s stuff didn’t appeal to me at all. In fact I resented it. I was going through my other grandparent’s things I took in thirteen years prior and now more was being added?
Trying to figure out the personal value of somebody’s things is pretty emotional:
- Why did they save that thing?
- Was it really important them, or just shoved in a drawer and forgotten?
- If it was important to them, why is it important for me to keep it?
- Did they ever take it out and remember why they had it or did it get forgotten in that drawer?
- Why is this taking up my time and why do I have to find a drawer in my house to put it?
- Why do I feel guilty I don’t want to take this home?
- How many things do I have forgotten in drawers in my house?
- Do I want someone to save it?
- If it has no worth to anyone else, why am I keeping it for them to deal with it; especially if I’m putting it in a drawer and forgetting about it?
Granny Kay saved every card that was ever sent to her, every letter, every piece of art, every photograph, every school paper we sent her. I ended up bringing a few school papers and photographs home to scan and then throw away. Aside from a couple things I thought would be cool to hang on the wall and a ring, I let the rest go. I didn’t have the ability to say no thirteen years ago and I’m dealing with that today. Those ‘things’ aren’t my grandparents and I don’t want anybody resenting or remembering me because of my ‘things’.
I then realized I was saving things in my room from the purge because they had a memory attached to them, but they were forgotten in a drawer or box for YEARS until now. They have no value to anyone but me. Do I want someone to go through the emotional process I went through as they deal with my things?
Nope. The best memories I have of my grandparents are the things we did together, not the things we collected. I don’t need an object to remember them nor do I need an object to remember the important things in my life.
Grandpa Brady, January 26, 1998
He took me to the jewelry store to buy me a ring for my Birthday. I wasn’t into jewelry at the time so I picked a modest garnet ring. I ended up walking out of the store with a much larger garnet ring. At the time, I didn’t really like it, but it’s one of my favorite rings now. I don’t wear it very often, but I feel special when I do. (He passed away a few months after that.)
My Mom treasures those agates. I cannot imagine how hard it was for her to sift through and decide which agates to choose and the amount of time it took to glue them all on, but for me it is the best Christmas gift by far.
…Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas…
I like boiled peanuts.
My grandfather used to make them for us quite often. I remember many visits where we would sit around the kitchen table and scarf them up as fast as he could dish them out.
Mom made a batch last week and brought me some. YUM! They were delicious and a happy reminder of grandpa.
I was just outside refilling the bird feeders and saw this peeking out of the mess of weeds at the edge of the alley…
Three California Poppies - one of grandpa’s favorite! So much so, he tried to populate West Beach Road with them. :)
(they are still there today)
My grandfather walked on the beach twice a day. He would bring home rocks and agates each time he went out. He had at least two polishers going at once in the garage. I don’t remember a time when the sound of tumbling rocks was absent. He had buckets and piles of polished rocks.
He built a walk in their back yard and filled it with polished rocks. My brother, the cousins and I would spend hours sifting through the polished rocks, and take them home to our own personal stash.
My grandmother tried to keep him from bringing rocks home, (and silence the racket in the garage) when she laid down the law: NO MORE ROCKS. Well, he figured out a way around her decree. He would bring them home, polish them, keep some, and take the same number back to the beach. He would distribute them on the beach during his walk. I can just see him - one pocket for the new rocks and one pocket for the returnees. Can you imagine the delight of a child finding one of his polished rocks? What a find!
When I walk on the beach, I look for agates, but I also hope to find one of my grandfather’s polished rocks all these years later.