Grandparents are a blessing to any child. I am lucky to have had my grandmother until I was 40 and my grandfather until I was 45. Grandparents are wonderful teachers. I always encourage my students to take time to sit and listen to their grandparents, especially if they are talking about the past. It is amazing, the things you can learn.
Grandpa was an engineer for Union Carbide. He was old enough to serve in World War II but Union Carbide wrote a letter requesting him to be excused from service to be stateside and help with the war effort through the work they were doing at Union Carbide.
Grandpa always made time for family. I loved going to visit. He would take us (kids, cousins) for walks in the woods. He was always teaching us about different trees, plants, mushrooms and such as we walked. I would ask almost as soon as we walked in the door if we could go for a “hike”.
Grandpa was always doing something. He would take a problem and think it through, then he would create what he needed from tools and materials he had available. He would always learn new things. I remember him showing me oil paintings he was learning to do. I was in high school and taking art at the time. Grandpa loved to garden. He was always tinkering and figuring out ways to keep the unwanted critters – deer, in particular – away from his flowers. I even have a copy of a magazine article that featured his gardening and being a Master Gardener.
My grandpa was one who took the time to learn about computers and didn’t mind using them. He even mastered the use of the smartphone and taking selfies. He taught us to use our minds and stayed active. He was just as active after retiring as he was before. He built two houses after he retired. He even cut in the road his house was built on. I remember listening to discussions between him and my dad about that house. Grandpa built it for their retirement and older years. He built it to make it easier for him and grandma to live in and on their own as they aged.
It is amazing that up until the months before he died, he still took care of the 5 acres of wooded hillside that he owned. Grandpa would take his time and figure out ways to cut up trees that had fallen and move them off of the trails he had built around the property.
Grandpa always made time for each of us. It didn’t matter if we were 2 or if we were 40. All of us, 7 grandkids and 5 great grandkids have definitely been blessed to have been able to sit at his feet and learn from him. I can only hope that I am able to share that skill with my children, students, and eventual grandchildren.
Learning from our elders is one of the best ways to learn about the past. I hope to teach my students to treasure those people and take their lessons to heart. They will treasure them in the years to come.
We will miss you, grandpa.
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