great great grandma
On the occasion of Christopher’s first meeting with his great great grandpa, he didn’t quite know what to make of him. That is something I can certainly understand, as can anyone who knew him. Grandpa was gruff and yet funny. Many people thought he was angry, but I knew better. He was one of those people who…maybe had a little bit of trouble expressing his feelings, but once you found your way into his heart…he was a person who cared deeply about you. What a wonderful trait to have in a grandpa who became your grandpa by marriage, both his to Christopher’s great great grandma…you see he was Christopher’s step-great great grandpa, and mine because he was Bob’s step-grandpa. I know these things about him, because I did find my way into his heart, and we were ruthless card partners…but more importantly, he was every bit a grandpa to me, and I loved him very much.
But, Christopher, being a little guy, had a bit of trouble figuring his great great grandpa out. Nevertheless, he did love him. And in some ways, they were two of a kind. Not in the gruff…hard to get to know…kind of way, but in the joking kind of way. Christopher is famous for making faces that are very expressive, either funny or serious. So when Grandpa started with his gruff voice and funny way of talking, Christopher gave him a look that said, “What are you talking about?” Again, I can understand how Christopher might wonder such a thing. Grandpa was always talking very fast, and when you combined that with his gruff voice…well you had to pay attention or you might miss the point.
So, Christopher did his best to figure out that guy that everyone was telling him was his great great grandpa, and maybe took a little bit of comfort in the fact that his Aunt BR was holding him, because he just wasn’t very sure about that guy that was in front of him. Then, just when he thought this guy called great great grandpa was never going to be somebody he would understand, he said something funny. Or, maybe it was just that everybody else started laughing. I’m not sure Christopher knew which it was, but I’m pretty sure everyone started laughing at Christopher’s funny face. It didn’t really matter, because suddenly Christopher decided that maybe this guy called great great grandpa was funny after all.
Some people have such a wonderful way with children that they seem ageless. That is the way Bob’s great grandma was. When we went to visit her in Yakima, Washington, when Corrie was just 15 months old, and Amy was 4 months old. Corrie and her great great grandma had such a connection. It didn’t matter that there was an 88 year difference in their ages. Grandma understood Corrie, and Corrie loved her very much. The chair she gave to Corrie was part of that connection they had. Grandma saw that Corrie would cherish the little chair, and her instincts were correct. It has been a treasure to Corrie.
Grandma truly was a timeless person. So many people who are in their 80’s and 90’s, have little tolerance for the silliness of children, but Grandma was no ordinary person. She loved life, and the people in it…especially her little great great grandchildren. And she was so full of life. She was one of those people whose age is hard to guess, because they are so much younger than their years. Grandma lived alone for the 8 years after Grandpa passed away, and prior to that, they had lived together in their own home, with Grandpa doing the maintenance on the house. They were both amazing people. Grandpa was 93 years young, and Grandma was 96 years young when the left us, but they weren’t feeble and weak. They lived their lives fully right up until the end.
When Grandma was 93, her son Frank and his wife Helen brought her out for a second visit since the birth of her first great great granddaughter, Corrie was born. Even though they had not seen each other. 4 years, and it is hard too say just how much Corrie remembers of that visit, but the connection between her and her great great grandmother is very obvious. Grandma and her little great great grandchildren were all having a wonderful time together.
It would be a short 4 years later when Grandma went home to be with the Lord on February 10, 1984, but the influence she left behind for all of her family was huge. She was a woman who took an interest in life, both past and future. It was Grandma that gave me a good start on Bob’s side of the family history, and not just it’s people, but the history of things too. Sometimes it is the history of things that brings home the history of people. Those were the stories that Grandma told me on that visit, and looking back now, I can see that what she was doing, was passing along our heritage…just like she did for her grandchildren, to the best of her ability, even if they don’t remember much of it. We do, and we will keep it and her alive, to pass on to those little ones, now grown.