Happy Birthday Grandpa

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Happy Birthday Grandpa

My Mom and her Dad, my Grandpa, in 2007.

Today, my friends, is my Grandpa’s birthday!  He would be 101 years old today!  It’s hard for me to imagine that this time three years ago, he had just passed away in his sleep.  My Grandpa was 98 when he was called Home, and he is probably the only person I will ever meet in this life that was called home on the same day that he was born.

I consider myself a very blessed man to have been able to have my Grandpa (and my Grandma, too, for that matter) in my life for as long as I did.  It’s not every person that can say that they had their Grandpa with them until they were 43 years old.  Sophie was 10 years old — she had her Poppy (that’s what she called her Great Grandpa) for 10 years of her life.

Happy Birthday Grandpa

Grandpa surrounded by his three children, their spouses, and one of his granddaughters!

This was a bittersweet day for us — this was the day that we moved Grandpa out of the house that he and Grandma had bought in Florida, and moved him north to live with my Mom and Dad.  It was bittersweet because we had so many great memories from those visits, but we knew that Grandpa couldn’t live there anymore on his own.  This was not long after Grandma had passed away.

 

Canfield Corner Pharmacy

This past July we took my Mom to the pharmacy that my Grandpa’s Dad ran!

Part of remembering Grandpa was in taking a family trip to visit where he grew up as a boy in Connecticut.  My Great Grandfather was the pharmacist that owned this pharmacy, and my Grandpa in his youth was a Soda Jerk!  They had their house just a short walk up the street.  It was a lot of fun visiting that area and meeting the current pharmacist and just visiting areas that I had never been to before!

Happy Birthday Grandpa

This is the Memorial Gardens where Grandma and Grandpa’s ashes are buried. This is at their church in Florida.

Grandpa was buried in the same Memorial Garden that my Grandma was five years earlier.  They both opted for cremation, and this Memorial Garden was established by their church in New Port Richey, Florida.  It is a fitting tribute to the church that despite the fact that Grandpa hadn’t been to that church in five years, there were still members of the congregation that remembered him and my Grandma, and made it a point to come to his service.

My Grandpa was a man of firsts — the first person (along with my Grandma, of course) to take me to Walt Disney World.  The first person to teach me to swim — we actually taught each other!  The first person to teach me all of the different airplanes that he knew from his days working for United Airlines.  Lastly, my Grandpa showed me, through his love for my Grandma, the perfect way to treat your wife, and that is something that I will never, ever forget.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa!

Grandma and Sophie, 2006

Grandma and Sophie, 2006

Grandpa, 2006

Grandpa, 2006

In a slight diversion from what we normally post on My Dreams of Disney, today I’d like to take a moment and tell you that today is my Grandma and Grandpa’s 74th Wedding Anniversary.  While they are both now in Heaven, I still count the anniversaries, because they are both still alive in my heart, as well as the hearts of all of my family.

The next pictures are just ones that mean a lot to me — thank you for indulging me by looking at them!  I hope you feel all of the warmth and love in them that I do.  Thanks for stopping by!

Grandma and I enjoying one of her favorite past times -- playing card games!

Grandma and I enjoying one of her favorite past times — playing card games!

Grandpa enjoying one of HIS favorite past times -- taking a nap!

Grandpa enjoying one of HIS favorite past times — taking a nap!

My Mom with her Daddy, after Grandma passed away in 2007.

My Mom with her Daddy, after Grandma passed away in 2007.

Dad, Uncle Roger, Stephanie, Aunt Sadie, Grandpa, Mom, Uncle Bob, Aunt Bette -- one of the last pictures I took of Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Dad, Uncle Roger, Stephanie, Aunt Sadie, Grandpa, Mom, Uncle Bob, Aunt Bette — one of the last pictures I took of Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Thank you for taking a trip down memory lane with me.  I remember every moment of those pictures, which was why I started My Dreams of Disney — to take note and remember the trips I’ve had over the years.  Thanks for stopping by, I hope it brought a smile to your face like it did mine.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friendship Friday: Grandma!

Grandma

Sophie with her Nana, 2006.

Friendship Friday: Grandma

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friendship Friday!  Last week we focused on my Grandpa, and this week we focus on his bride of nearly 68 years, my Grandma!

My Grandma was born Edna Atwood near Waterbury, Connecticut, and was one of the children of a local vet in the area.  Since the area she lived in was mostly farming, she learned to ride horses early on.

My Grandma would grow up to become an O.R. nurse — and a pretty good one at that from what I understand.  Back in those days, when a patient was in the hospital, they hired their own nurses to take care of them, and my Grandpa’s father, who needed to have gallbladder surgery, hired her to help take care of him after his surgery (my Grandma had also been in on the actual surgery.)

It was during this time that my Grandpa met my Grandma, and began a romance that would last for a lifetime.

I have heard a lot of stories about my childhood from my Grandma, perhaps my favorite one was the time — when they lived in Buffalo, NY — when my Grandma bought me a hotdog with ketchup, and told me to make sure I held onto that hot dog really tight.  Well, I held it so tight that the hot dog shot out of the bun onto the floor!

My Grandma and Grandpa are a blessing in my life, even now, despite the fact that they have both been called to Heaven.  My Grandpa used to make my Grandma so angry!  He told us the story once that her family was wealthy — so wealthy that they had servants!  The true story is that my Grandma’s mom passed away really young, and my Grandma — who was the oldest if I remember correctly — had to keep the house because of that.  In order to help them out, they did have a lady who came by to help with the housekeeping, but it wasn’t at all like they had servants!

My Grandpa was a little like me — or rather, I’m a little like him.  Both of us are guilty of not having a whole lot of smarts at times!  I remember the time my Grandma told us the story about Grandpa ticking her off about something.  Grandma could be devious at times, so she let it lie for a while, then later on she suggested that they go for a horseback ride.  By this time my Grandma was an old pro at riding a horse, but Grandpa wasn’t as good.  When Grandma and Grandpa got on their horses, Grandma took off on her horse, and Grandpa’s followed nearly as quickly!  My Grandpa learned a valuable lesson that day — but he also forgot it on more then one occasion over the years also! :)

Sophie was born when my Grandma was 87 years old, and it was extremely important to Cindy that we bring Sophie down to Florida to meet Grandma and Grandpa as early as we could.  As a result, little Sophie took her first trip to Florida at the tender age of 7 weeks old.  We had already planned on staying at a hotel, so we checked in first and settled in before coming over.  I remember as we were heading to my Grandma’s house that it started pouring rain!  Grandma knew we were on our way because we called first, and when we got there, Grandma was waiting in the garage with the door open, umbrella at hand, waiting to help Cindy and Sophie get into the house.

My Grandpa was also like me in that he was both an old softie, and a hopeless romantic at times!  I’ll never forget one time when we were visiting, Grandpa came in from the garden, red rose in hand, which he proceeded to give my Grandma.  She said, “Ah, Dad.” (They called each other Mom and Dad) and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  When she saw me watching them, she blushed and looked at me and said “Yes, we still do that!”

My Grandma was the rock of our family, especially after they retired.  Grandpa was stricken with pancreatic cancer — and survived it — but he also had macular degeneration and hearing loss, so he wasn’t able to drive anymore.  My Grandma did all the driving when it was just the two of them, she had the greater energy, and she did her crossword puzzles.  They watched their baseball games on TV together, and they did all of these things together.

In the end, though, it was my Grandma who would end up having the frailer body.  Grandma passed away in March 2007, just a few days before her 93rd birthday.  After she passed away, Grandpa moved to Virginia with Mom and Dad.  I’m going to close with two pictures from after Grandma passed away.  In the first you have my Grandpa and Mom, Father and Daughter, doing what they did best — taking care of one another.  In the second picture you have a family picture in front of Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Florida.

Grandma

Grandpa and Mom, holding hands, after Grandma’s Memorial Service.

 

Grandma

Dad, Uncle Roger, Stephanie, Aunt Sadie, Grandpa, Mom, Uncle Bob, Aunt Bette

At the end of this long post, I urge you all, if you still have your Grandparents in your life, to take a moment, pick up the phone, and give them a call and tell them you love them.  Or, if they are close enough, go over and visit with them.  All of my Grandparents are now in Heaven, and I miss them.  Looking at the pictures in this post, the memories return anew, and I found myself wiping tears from my eyes that I thought had all been shed.  I never realized in the picture of my Mom and Grandpa just how prophetic that picture was.  Grandpa looked after Mom and helped her to learn to walk and talk again, and now, in his later years, my Mom was there for him, taking him by the hand, helping him when needed, and yes, getting aggravated by him as much as my Grandma was at times.

Remember, take a moment, give them a call or stop by and see them.  You are blessed to have them, just as those of us that have lost our Grandparents were blessed to have them.  Never take them for granted, any of our family members.

This series is the brainchild of my friend Heidi from Heidi’s Head!  To take a look at who she is featuring this week in her post, just click on the image below!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friendship Friday: My Grandpa!

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Friendship Friday.  Today I have another one of the special people in my life — my Grandpa!

Grandpa and I have always been buddies — for as long as I can remember.  Grandpa worked at United Airlines for 41 years, stepping down in 1978.  Gramps was assigned to different airports by United as their Chief Maintenance Manager (or something like that) — so he and Grandma and Mom and Aunt Bette and Uncle Roger were always travelling to different states.

My Grandpa was assigned to work at the United Airlines Hangar for the then unopened Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.  It was Grandpa’s job to make sure that the United hangar was ready for business when the airport opened up.  It was while Grandpa and all the family were there that my Mom and Dad met and got married!

When I was born, my Grandma and Grandpa were living in Buffalo, NY, where Grandpa was in charge of the hangar at the airport there.  I don’t remember Buffalo much because I was young, but my Grandma always told the story that I would be off somewhere, and they would find me playing with the toads that I would find over by the cellar windows outside.

After Buffalo, my Grandpa was stationed at the last airport he worked at before retirement — Newark, located in Newark, NJ.  My Grandparents lived in Berkeley Heights, NJ, and I remember our trips north to visit Grandma and Grandpa there.  It was then that Grandpa and I started forging our bond.  We would go to the airport and look at the planes land from the observation deck — back in the days when you could go to the airport, park, and watch planes all day if you wanted to!

Grandpa had so much knowledge about the airplanes.  He would look at one and say — there’s a DC-10, or a 727, or a 737, or, of course, a 747.  It was great to see him in action, and I learned a few things about planes back then.

In October 1978, I believe it was, Grandpa retired, and Grandma and he began their last move — to Port Richey, Florida!  It was there that my fun with Grandma and Grandpa would begin in earnest!

In 1979 My Mom, sister Robin, and I flew down to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  Dad was a self-employed cabinetmaker, so unfortunately he didn’t have much time off, so he stayed behind.

It was during that summer visit that I got my first visit to Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom!  I’ve forgotten some of the details, but the one thing that I never forgot was what I wrote about for my friend Donna from DISTherapy for her 40 days to 40 years project in 2011:

As you pass under the railroad tracks, somehow, Walt Disney has magically taken you out of the here and now, and transported you back to a different time, a different place, where small town Americana is alive and well; where Main Street isn’t just the name of a street, but it is a place to hang out with your friends, where you can eat, shop, and even catch a movie.  As you gaze at all of the incredible buildings, you are taken aback at how long Main Street, U.S.A. is.  It seems like it goes on forever!  But you peer at the end of the street, and what do you see?  This magical castle waiting for you, beckoning you to take a look at it, daring you to even go inside of it!  You have heard about that castle, how it is Cinderella Castle, and belongs to her.  You have read about how you can walk all the way through the castle, and come out in Fantasyland.  You have even heard that you can even have a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table — but that memory is for another trip.

After that first summer, my Grandma and Grandpa started asking if I wanted to visit with them during the summer months when school was out.  Hello!  Of course I said yes!  I remember the first time I drove down with them, and I had been visiting for a while when my Grandpa said, “Mickey, when do you think you want to go back home?”  I thought for a while, then I said something to the affect that school started September 5th, so I guess I needed to be home a couple of days before so I could get school clothes.  I think my Grandpa thought I was homesick, but how could I be?  I had my buddy with me!  And did I mention it was Florida?!

Grandpa and I did so many things together.  We took care of the neighbor’s pool together — so we could swim in it.  We learned how to swim together.  We would go to the library and check out a book on a particular swimming stroke, and we would read a page by the pool, then go check it out in the water to see how it worked.  During that summer, we learned all the major swimming strokes!

We would go to the beach together while Grandma was playing Bridge with the ladies.

My Grandpa was — and is — an inspiration to me to this day.  He and Grandma lived through so many things — the Great Depression, wars, the Cold War, uncertainty, illness — yet they never wavered from who they were, and what they believed.  That is a lesson for all of us in this day and age.

My Mom is the oldest of my Grandma and Grandpa’s three children.  When she was one or two years old, she got bitten by a mosquito and became extremely ill.  My Mom had to learn how to talk again, and she had to learn how to walk again.  Through all of that, my Grandma and Grandpa were there, helping her, guiding her along as she learned the things she needed to learn again.  My Grandpa would work with her when he got home from work — all the patience in the world.  Infinitely more patience then I have, that’s for sure.

We are all miracles, but I think some of us are a little more of a miracle then others.  When I think back on how sick my Mom was as a baby, just the fact that Robin and I were even able to come into this world is a testament to God’s Power and Strength — and his Mercy.  Carry that forward, and it is obvious to me that Sophie is a miracle of her own — so tiny, such a little baby, but now an 11 year old.  None of us are perfect, that is certain, but the blessings we have — in my mind, they outweigh the problems we have so much, if we just choose to see them.

At the end, my Grandpa passed away the way I think we all would like to pass on — at home, in his bed, with his family by his side, singing him Happy Birthday one last time.  My Grandpa was born on September 4, 1913, and he passed away on September 4, 2011, and the tender age of 98.

Gone…but never, EVER, forgotten.  I love you Grandpa.

My friend Heidi is the inspiration behind the Friendship Friday series for me!  She even lets me link up with her site each week!  Click on the image below to see what friend she is highlighting today, and thanks for stopping by!