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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Grandpa enjoying one of HIS favorite past times — taking a nap!
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.
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.
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.
Grandpa and Mom, holding hands, after Grandma’s Memorial Service.
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!
On this Thanksgiving Day, 2012, here at My Dreams of Disney we would like to take a few minutes and wish you and your family a wonderful, safe, and happy Thanksgiving! We have so many blessings that God has bestowed upon us, one of the best is in this first picture — my daughter Sophie reading a book with her Great Grandpa, my Grandpa, the man she called “Poppy.”
My Grandpa isn’t with us any more, but these pictures are, and it is wonderful that I’m able to pull them up and look at them, remember the time it was taken, and give thanks to God for the blessing. Not everyone is as fortunate in this regard as I am — I know many people that never knew their Grandma or Grandpa, or for that matter, even their own parents — so as I move on in years, I find myself realizing more and more just how blessed a person I am.
In the next pictures, I would like to share with you some of the pictures that I have taken or had taken, both inside and outside of Walt Disney World, that show how thankful I am for all of the blessings I have. I hope you enjoy!
I am thankful for my wife Cindy — who loves me, even though I had socks on with sandals.
I am thankful to this rose, for allowing the hopeless romantic that I am to share a special moment with my wife Cindy as we passed through the lobby of Kidani Village.
I am thankful for Will, who not only was my best friend and roommate, but also my best man, and Sophie’s Godfather. He loves her like he would his own child.
I am thankful to my friend Amanda, who is a nut, but reminds me daily how to live life, and to take pleasure in the simple pleasures!
I am thankful to Kerry and Monica, especially Kerry, for showing that look of abject horror on her face so perfectly!
I am thankful to Kyle (left) and Shane (right), two brothers who walk with the Lord, but still know how to have fun, and remember the kid inside of them!
I am thankful for Shane and Stephanie, two souls that God brought together, and who are now on their own life journey together!
I know that these pictures do not even begin to do justice for all of the things that I am thankful for, but in the end, I guess what it comes down to is this:
I am thankful to my God for giving me the gift of love, in such abundant quantities, that I am able to love all of these people, plus the hundreds of people that I haven’t mentioned here. While I haven’t posted a picture of them, they know who they are, and they know that I love them also.
I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration, that you spend some great quality time with your families, whomever that may be, and that you are able to take a break from the hustle and bustle of this world, and for this day, at least, slow down, live, love, and laugh together with those you love.
My Mom Ellen is a great woman. She is the oldest child of three that my Grandma and Grandpa had, and she has had to be strong many times over the course of her life. She is a miracle — she survived a really scary childhood illness that forced her to have to learn how to talk and walk again; she survived a very scary condition after my Grandma passed away a few years back — in fact, she wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of my Dad, but that’s a story for another day. She has battled so many things over the course of her life (including me sometimes) — but the one thing that she has never done is backed down from what she believed was right.
My Mom has had to do a lot of things over the years, including care for her parents. Grandma and Grandpa are both gone now, enjoying their time in Heaven with Jesus, but before they left, they had Mom there, looking after them as best she could, first in Florida, and then, when Grandma passed away, in Virginia with my Grandpa moving into Mom and Dad’s home.
When I look at my Mom, I see the best of both of my Grandparents in her. I see the stubbornness that my Grandma had at times, along with a little dose of “If you want something, go get it yourself!” The funny thing was that, when my Grandma was younger, if she came to our house to visit, then she took over the kitchen. When they got older, and we would go to her house to visit, she would tell us we knew where it was, to help ourselves. We picture her getting to Heaven and telling Jesus if he wanted anything He knew where it was, go help Himself! My Mom, thankfully, has developed a little bit of that herself.
In addition to the qualities of my Grandma that I see in Mom, I also see some of my Grandpa in her. Those qualities are more about her carefree attitude with things. Mom can get upset about things, that much is certain, but her laughter, which is often evident, reminds me of Grandpa.
Now that my Grandparents have moved on to Heaven, I’ve seen a welcome change come over my Mom. She is more carefree — she and Dad are taking more small trips then they used to, they are enjoying their lives as husband and wife together perhaps a bit more. It’s not like they didn’t enjoy themselves before, and that they wished that Grandpa didn’t live there — that’s not it at all. It’s just that they are able to do things that they just weren’t able to do before. It’s hard to explain, and I’m doing a lousy job I’m sure, but I’m glad that they have been able to do these things, and I look forward to hearing about their journeys on this stage of their lives for many years to come.
Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for Mom. I may not tell you every day, Mom, but I love you, and each day Sophie grows, I learn more about the kind of parents you and Dad were to Robin and I. I love you, Mom, and I hope you have enjoyed being the center of attention today.
Special thanks goes out to my friend Heidi from Heidi’s Head — it was from Heidi that I first learned about this special series that she does every week. If you want to read who she is writing about this week, just click on the image below! Thanks for stopping by, and for learning more about my Mom.