On May 5, 1928 my Grandpa (GPa) asked my Grandma (GMa) to marry him.
It’s a Tuesday morning. The day dawned bright and crisp. Through the quietness of the morning air you could hear the church bells ringing, heralding the beginning of what was to be 63 years of living and loving as it is meant to be. Tuesday February 12, 1929. This was their wedding day. Gpa had sold the car (a Model A Ford with a rumble seat) that had taken him to Gma’s that first night, for $75.00 to help pay for the wedding.
For anyone to not be impressed with what follows has no idea what kind of strength it entails to have and to keep a commitment to love, marriage, family and faith. There is nothing average or marginal about two lives that have spanned more than six decades, raised twelve children, lived with the agony of a child gone before them and kept their faith strong. They have seen each other through the trivial, the depressions, the glorified and the hum drum days of life.
We spent hours talking about their lives. How do we sum up their lives with written words? How do we reduce passions, expressions and experience to mere words? Again I wish for moments back with them so I could do them honor. Let them know that the life they lived impressed me. Moves me.
When GP first held Baby One he looked at her and said “Isn’t she beautiful? Isn’t she the most beautiful baby?” What a good start for a daddy.
After Baby One’s birth GMa stayed in bed for ten days. And for five dollars a week a woman named Fanny came in and took care of both Baby One and GMa. After she was able Gma went back to work at the Shoe Company and Fanny stayed with Baby One.
Ten days! In bed! How has our world changed! I know woman who have had their baby and been discharged from the hospital the same day. But the times, they were certainly different. Even Gma and Gpa were amazed at what use to be.
One of my favorite stories:
When Baby One was little Gma would put her in a stroller and go for a walk. If she saw a house for rent that she liked better than what they resided in she would pick up and move. Sometimes before telling GPa. GMa’s brother and GPa’s brother would move things in their wagons. Of course that was before you had to have deposits and utilities turned off and on. A life where people could trust. How enchanting. It seems a dream world to life today.
I can’t imagine walking down the streets of today and seeing a house I like for rent, shaking a landlord’s hand, move in. That simple. Not to mention our lives have become so cluttered with ‘stuff’ that there is no way I could move my home in a wagon. But for GPa and GMa their world could fit in a wagon. Their world, their passion, their lives were their children and their church. Priorities. They got it.
Children, sources of fun and humor for every generation.
One thing they can’t pin on any one kid are the shoes they found in the registers. They don’t know who was doing it, but GMa and GPa found shoes melted and some burnt crisp as potato chips. Mostly they believe the shoes were tossed in a register to get out of going to school.
Little Baby One was showing sadistic traits at the age of three. She liked to bite the baby sitter on the butt. It was the only part she could reach. Good thing the baby sitter’s back was turned!
At one time GMa and GPa’s bedroom was cranberry and yellow colored, GMa was very proud of it. One day GMa went in to the bedroom and found a mess in the middle of her bed. Littlest Baby At The Time, who wasn’t even walking yet! Had somehow managed to get a pan, dump all of the spices from the oven door in to the pan and added water that Bea assumes came from the toilet. What else could she reach? She had to of scooted along on her behind, pulled herself up at the bed, and dumped her project on mom and dad’s bed.
Personally I am a little skeptical, I think there is an older kid who had best fess up. It’s about time.
One of the Small Ones was quite imaginative. Unknown to this day (to GMa and GPa anyway) the little culprit burnt holes in their bedroom curtains. To cover it up they cut out the burnt spots hoping mom wouldn’t notice. She noticed.
Come on! Somebody better come clean!
Before Child Nine was of school age she was watching out the window as the first communion class was getting in formation for the mass. When one of the kids would step out of place the nuns would whack them with a ping pong paddle. Child Nine told GMa “I’m not going over to that school, to have those women beat the sh*! out of me!”
Out of the mouth of babes they say…..
I don’t want to tell all of the stories here and now. There are so many. But Child 11 still made GMa and GPa laugh years later when they thought of this.
Child Eleven is upstairs playing by himself when GMa yells up to him and asks him what he is doing. “Playing with myself!” comes his reply. “Playing BY yourself” she yells back to him. The girls in the kitchen wanted to know what the difference was.
Maybe they didn’t do great things by this world’s standards. But they did great things by family and God’s standards. They aren’t famous. They aren’t remembered for astounding deeds. But they are remembered with love, gratitude and awe. Remembered by people who are grateful for their morals, their priorities, and the dedication to living good, kind and decent lives. The kind of lives we strive for. And that should be a great thing by this world’s standards.