He Spoke To Me In 1926

Sometimes we find things out too late.

Or we learn too late to take the time to find things out.

Or both things happen.

And something incredible is missed.

In my head though, I manage to take little bits of something and put them together to create something magical.  If only in my head.  And if only magical to me.

So be it.

I’ll take it!

My grandfather Stephen was born in 1899.  Look, he is quite dapper.

My Grandfather

During the course of the last few years and with much assistance by my aunt and uncle I have learned much about him.

He was quiet and faithful.

Athletic and active.

One of Grandfather’s numerous teams.

I remember Grandfather.  Very fondly.  I remember his quietness.  And his back scratching (the best ever).  I remember him quietly reaching up to his ear every single time the herd of us stampeded in to his home.  He would sit there quietly and let us sit on him, climb on him, and he would just smile away.   Dad told me many years later that he was turning his hearing aide off when we came in.  I would like to think it’s because we were quite loud enough and he didn’t need it to hear us.  Not that he didn’t want to hear us.   I believe I am correct in my assumption.

There’s more to this man than I can tell you here.  Sadly I did not have the wisdom in youth to ask this man about his life and the things he saw.  The things he lived through.  He served in WW I.  He went back for WW II and they told him he was too old.  He had family stories I’ll never know now.  And now I can’t ask.  All I can do is look through what has been left behind.  In my relatives memories and my Grandfather’s belongings.

And there is one thing that I found very recently that has made me one very happy granddaughter.

Who knew that something he did in 1926 would impact me on a snowy and cold night almost 86 years later.

All he did was write two words in his daily journal.  And I know, I know, that when he wrote those words almost 86 years ago-they were for me.  Because who else would read them and have any idea or care about them?  No one.  Just me.   So again, I am correct.

Fast forward to the 2000 era.   I love my biking.   Love it.  I am most at ease on my bike.  Pedaling. Even sitting in my bike room pedaling is very pleasing to me.    My love of biking doesn’t end with the bike.  I love to read other people’s stories about biking, trips around the world, trips around continents, trips around their country, family trips.  Whatever.  Just love it.

One year Husband got me a book.  “How I Learned To Ride The Bicycle”.  By  Frances E. Willard.

I love this book for many reasons.  But one reason is I agree with some of Ms. Willard’s views on the benefits of the bicycle.  So much so that I quoted her on a piece I made for our bathroom:

It’s really not crooked. I’ts me sitting on a laundry basket trying to take this picture.

Not too many people I know of have a clue about Ms. Frances E. Willard, or her book or anything about her very busy life.

I don’t talk to my family about such matters.  They humor me about some matters but not too many want education about bike loving stuff.

Friends, some humor me.   Some, I have even given this book of Ms. Willard’s to.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with my Grandfather?

A few weeks ago when we were working on more family history we found one of Grandfather’s diaries.  The one from 1926.

This is what he wrote:

At first I was extremely excited that perhaps Grandfather (and Grandmother prior to her becoming his missus) went and actually saw Frances Willard.   Alas, that was all dashed when Husband pointed out Ms. Willard was deceased, and had been since before Grandfather was even born.

He mentions a hall.   And it was over crowded.   Perhaps they went to see a play about her.  Or someone reading some of her writings.   Or talking about her suffragist type works.

The point is, he wrote those two words.

No one else would have cared.

The book ended up in my hands.  I flipped through every page.  And those two words jumped out at me and grabbed me by the eyes.

Those words said:

Look Colleen, you and I have something in common.   You will see this and know that this something you are fascinated by, is something I share with you.  You will see this and when you get excited and think about the two of us with this common appreciation, you will make a big deal out of it in your head.  And more importantly, your heart.  Enjoy this!

Though I missed out on huge opportunities with him.  And I didn’t learn about Frances E. Willard until long after he died.   I managed to make magic.  I learned something, I found something, I put it together.   And connected.  Magic.