Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
Today, mom and I started reminiscing about both of you, and so many of the memories we had made us laugh and cry at the same time! I have tons of happy recollections of our time together and I just don’t know where to start!
Grandma…you were the best! You loved to play cards so much and you were always up for anything and everything! I remember you teaching me double solitaire when I was little, and we would play for hours on your brown living room carpet while Skipper plodded by with her fat belly because Grandpa fed her too much (of course, he denied this)! Our games would get vicious…and laying down those cards could be a fight to the end. When we counted our piles, we were always, and I mean always, excited to see who won…no matter how many games we had played before! Sis would jump in with us lots of times, and triple solitaire was even more fun!
I remember you LOVED to do the crossword puzzle in the TV guide every week. But I also remember how you could never finish it on your own! So…you would call Norma…a true ‘Norma Desmond’ if I ever saw one…Grandpa called her a Kewpie doll…and see if you could get the answers from her! You’d sit at the old kitchen table that always had a terry cloth cover on it and have your pen ready to write! And every time ole Norma gave you an answer, you’d say “OH YEAH!, I knew that”!
I absolutely loved how Grandpa washed your hair every couple of days in the sink and the smell of Suave shampoo…just the regular kind…always makes me smile. Afterwards, you would wrap your hair turban style, then sit on the couch, watching your soaps and rolling your hair up in curlers! I don’t know how you stood it…the curlers were hard plastic with prickly spikes and you used a plastic pin to secure them. After your hair was dry, you’d brush it out and it always looked so pretty to me.
As I got older, we would have scrabble afternoons, and one summer, I was on a roll. You poor thing, you couldn’t win a game no matter what letters you got. I started feeling sorry for you! Finally, near the end of a VERY close game, you put down the letters “joo”. I asked you what the heck it was, and you said ZOO! I said: “Grandma…you spelled it with a J!” She said she knew…she was spelling zoo!! Grandpa was cracking up and he said “Grandma…if you can’t play nice, don’t play at all!” You finally realized what you had done, and laughed so hard there were tears!
I loved your laugh! And I heard it a lot! Remember when you took sis and I to Chicago on the bus for Christmas shopping? You just HAD to buy a DELUXE scrabble game in that huge box first thing there, and we lugged it around all day! Your reasoning was the store might run out. But as we left to get back on the bus, it looked like we were the only ones to get one of those editions from the display that day! Sis and I teased you a lot as we were shopping, and you always took it so well!
Grandpa…what can I say? You were like a giant to me! When I look back at pictures, I see that you weren’t as big as I remembered, but I still picture you as being that big, strong, navy man who fought in WWII. I never told you this, but thank you for your service. Two years was a hell of a long tour, and you never mentioned what you saw or what you did. You just did what you had to do, came home, and was a great family man.
I loved all of your cooking and when I would spend the night, you would always make me a special breakfast the next day…silver dollar pancakes, eggs, sausage links…all on a portioned plate so I could see what was there. If it was summer or spring, you’d pick a flower for my tray as well. How spoiled I was!
On holidays, you’d make us girls lobster and you would pick it out of the claw, put it in a bowl, and then broil it with butter and seasoning. I never have had better since then!
Whenever you knew sis and I were coming to spend the night (which was often), you’d get our ‘smutty’ magazines! Tiger Beat, the National Enquirer, The Globe…the more weird the headlines, the more we’d want the magazine and you knew it. And, for a long time, we believed everything we read! (Of course Elvis is still alive and living as an alien on Jupiter…duh)! 🙂
You loved taking your grandkids places and I remember when you took Grandma and I to St. Louis. Grandma was scared at the top of the St. Louis arch and she yelled at us not to tip it by looking out the windows! You knew I was a bit scared, so you held on to me while I peered out and I knew I was safe.
Remember what you let sis and I do when you’d take us to the store to pick out a goodie for after dinner? We’d sit on your lap and steer! Can you imagine what would happen today if that was done? But it was so much fun, and after I got my permit, you let me practice with you time and time again in your big Monte Carlo! I couldn’t believe you’d trust me driving that, but you did and you helped me become a good driver (don’t ask your great-grandson though…he might tell you different)!
One of our favorite things to do with you was to decorate your brass bed with toilet paper! We would use rolls to wrap around each spindle and drape over every space! Cousin, sis and I thought the bed looked absolutely beautiful!! And you always agreed! When I was little, I’d sleep with you in it, while sis slept with grandma in her bed. It wasn’t dirty or inappropriate or anything that we would immediately think of today. It was innocent and sweet and I’d curl up by your back and apparently kick you all night! You always got up early to let out the dog, and then you’d pretend you were blowing a bugle to waken the rest of us up!
You loved to collect things…maybe that’s where I get it. And Grandpa, I loved them all when I was a kid! I can see now that not everything you brought home was a treasure, but I tell you what, it was to me!
Grandma and Grandpa…you’ve been gone a long time now…30 years in fact. And not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and still feel so much love for you. You were the BEST grandparents a kid could ever have, and sis and cousin feel the same. The influence both of you had on our lives is immeasurable and my only regret is you not being able to be around to meet my son. You would have loved him…and he would have adored you both.
I know you don’t want thanks for all you did for us…just like I don’t want thanks from my son for being a good mom. But I’ll give it to you like this: someday, I’m going to have a sweet, little grandbaby in my arms, and I’m going to try my best to be as good of a grandparent as you both were (like sis is already doing). And…I know you’ll be watching. With pride.
Prof K ❤