When Grandpa W. passed away a few years ago, I took some time to post some pictures and memories of him. . . and I’m really glad I did, as when I am missing him, it’s a place I can go and remember and reflect. I wanted to do the same with Grandpa C.
To understand my family. . . you have to first understand “Pa and Ma”. . .
My grandpa lived on a farm and was raised by Leo and Nellie (Pa and Ma).
Bill, Pa, Ma, Mary Rita, Grandpa, and John in front of the farm house
They had four children. . .
Bill (who had no children and passed away before I could ever know him).
Mary Rita (who had five children)
John (who had seven children)
Henry Eugene-a.k.a. Gene/Grandpa (who had nine children)
I had the great privilege of knowing both my great-grandparents. . . as they were still alive when I was a kid. Actually, Ma lived until I was in grad school. . . and died at age 100!
Ma and Pa gave strong roots to this LARGE family. Their children reinforced this. Despite our large size, we are close.
My grandpa and grandma had nine children. . .
Grandma, Grandpa, their children, and Ma on her 100th birthday (Mom and I love that she's waving in this picture).
Dad has lots of stories from his childhood that are very fun. . . but there were also tough times and plenty of sacrifices having that many kids and not being made of money.
The whole family
As a Grandpa, he was a fairly quiet man. . . but if you really listened to Grandpa, you knew how amazing he was. . . because while he didn’t speak much or get too many words in edgewise with our family. . . whenever he did speak, he was clever and hilarious. It wasn’t until I was probably in high school that I truly appreciated this and took the time to listen carefully.
Dad with his parents on a Christmas Eve
We ate fried chicken most every Sunday at my grandparents’ house. . . and one of my favorite memories was when my sister and I were sitting at the table with my grandparents, and it was time for dessert. Grandma made two different types of pie. Grandma sliced up the pies, and Grandpa said he wanted pieces of both pies. Grandma went to cut his pieces into “half” pieces, and as she lowered the knife, Grandpa started squealing. . . (to signal that she needed to stop cutting because he wanted two WHOLE pieces. . . none of this half-piece stuff). . . Grandma said, “JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH! You do NOT need two pieces of pie!!!” I will never forget the cry he let out when she went to cut them.
An amazing picture, courtesy of my cousin Lindsey. Don't we all hope we'll like our husbands and wives this much and still have this much fun in our 80s? :)
Grandpa loved sitting out on the front porch and checking out the scenery. My grandparents lived near the school and the church, and you could see plenty of comings and goings from their porch.
This is part of a picture of Grandpa and Grandma on the front porch. One of my favorite pictures my sister took as a part of her photography class, it's framed in my living room.
Grandpa was EXTREMELY particular and stubborn about things. . . down to what silverware he used. I think many of us have inherited this “stubborn” trait. :)
I remember one time my mom, sister, and I rode to my uncle and aunt’s house several hours away with Grandpa and Grandma C. . . but this trip took WAY longer than it needed to. That’s because Grandpa took numerous detours along the way to “see how the crops were doing” in other areas of the state. I’m pretty sure Mom wanted to choke him for making a long car ride with two little girls much longer. . . but that was Grandpa! As a farmer, crops were an area of great interest and intrigue!
Me with Grandma and Grandpa during one of my visits home
Grandpa loved his church, his family, his town. While he was never one to gush over anything, you always knew how extremely proud he was.
At his age, and with so many struggles and with him being a big guy. . . you’d think recovering from a hip replacement would be nearly impossible. I think we all had our doubts about how he would do with recovery and physical therapy. I mean, the guy isn’t really that into physical activity anymore.
Playing cards in the hospital
He did an awesome job! I was fairly amazed to hear the reports of how he was doing. . . but in the end, there were just so many new health hurdles every day. I was getting calls and texts frequently that he was nearing the end. . . but yet, he pulled through so many times. In the end, it was time for him to go and stop struggling. . . and he went peacefully with family by his side.
My cousin Kathy made a comment on facebook that really spoke to me. . “What a wonderful life Grandpa C. had! Surrounded by so many people that loved him all his life.” That’s a beautiful way to think about his life. He built a big family full of love. . . and was constantly surrounded by love.
Uncle Paul used this poem in the eulogy. . . and I think it’s perfect.
Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should.
For, somehow, Father seems to be
The man who pays the bills,
While Mother binds up little hurts
And nurses all our ills.
And Father struggles daily
To live up to “his image”
As protector and provider
And “hero of the scrimmage”.
And perhaps that is the reason
We sometimes get the notion,
That Fathers are not subject
To the thing we call emotion,
But if you look inside Dad’s heart,
Where no one else can see
You’ll find he’s sentimental
And as “soft” as he can be.
But he’s so busy every day
In the grueling race of life,
He leaves the sentimental stuff
To his partner and his wife.
But Fathers are just wonderful
In a million different ways,
And they merit loving compliments
And accolades of praise,
For the only reason Dad aspires
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness.
And like Our Heavenly Father,
He’s a guardian and a guide,
Someone that we can count on
To be always on our side.
- Helen Steiner Rice
We’ll miss you Grandpa!
Grandpa praying at his bedside