My Childhood

My Grandpa and Your Grandpa

MrZ’s Grandmother passed away yesterday. It was not unexpected but that doesn’t make the grief of his Mom and her siblings any less. In honor of her, I thought it would be a nice little tribute to share some of my favorite grandparent moments in honor of grandmas and grandpas worldwide. (None of mine are alive anymore.)

My paternal Grandfather (“Grandpa”) died in 2000. He was in his 90s and had lived a long and healthy life. When LilZ was little, Grandpa picked him up by putting a hand on each side of LilZ’s head, over the ear. I tried my best not to have a heart-attack watching him do it. My Dad told me later that no one stopped him because he evidently did it to us all when we were kids. It was like a tradition of sorts. I remember one summer when he was in his 80s, we went out to the fields with him to bale hay. He demonstrated by jumping off the trailer and grabbing a bale and throwing it back up on the trailer and riding to the next one. Remember – he was EIGHTY PLUS SOME and when I tried to do it? I nearly killed myself. There I was in my 20s and he was besting me, 60 years older. He always had a plate of white bread in front of him at dinner so he could use it to soak up whatever juices lingered on his plate. When I’m not dieting? I like to do the same thing. I read The Giving Tree at his funeral at the request of my family. It was an honor.

His wife, my “Grandma” died in 2002. She was just the quintessential hardworking southern grandmother. She knew how to cook meals for 40+ people at reunions yet never seemed stressed or concerned about not having enough food. And there was always enough. She was resourceful and made clothes out of any scrap material she could find for a good price. She made us foot-shaped rugs to take home one summer out of some faux fur she had lying around. She was a self-sufficient and an amazing woman. None of her sewing or cooking skills got passed down to me because my Dad knew my failures would provide him laughter later in life. (Smart man.) I took LilZ with me to see Grandma one summer when we were going to prep their house to sell since Grandma had been moved to an assisted living facility. 

LilZ found a giant tin of various buttons and he thought he had died and gone to heaven it was such a neat treasure. He still has it and I’m sure she is proud of that. Collecting those things in a tin for all those years (I think my Dad may have the same type of collection) did not go unnoticed. I read The Giving Tree at her funeral too.

Mo and Pop

My Mom’s parents lived in the same town as I did growing up so I have more photos and memories of them, I think.

My maternal grandfather (“Pop”) died when I was in the 5th grade and I did a reading at his funeral. I remember enough about him to know that I got my smart-assedness (and my word-inventedness) from my Mom’s side of the family. I was his first (and obviously his FAVORITE and I will argue that to the grave because come ON – I was ADORABLE) grandchild. He would play Trivial Pursuit with my brother and I and he would obviously cheat, probably because he knew we were too polite to point out he was cheating. And then? He would loudly accuse us of cheating and it cracked us up. He sang at our church and all of my friends thought he was blind because he wore sunglasses in church. The rumor is he wore them so he could sleep during service and no one would know. But really? I don’t know why he wore them.

His wife, my maternal grandmother (“Mo”), died when I was a Junior in high school and I read at her funeral as well. She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Her clothes were always pressed and she always looked gorgeous. Where the hell were those genes when I needed them during puberty? Jeez. I called her “Mo” and would go to church with her on the Sundays I was at my Moms house. We would go to McDonalds after church and gossip about my friends parents. She would always order each of us a hamburger and it amazed me that she even looked ladylike and fancy eating a hamburger. We all know how I obviously did NOT get any sort of grace or poise from her. I’m sure she rolls over in her grave each time she sees me spill something on my clothes. She’s somewhere minus her corporeal frame, thinking, “That’s my granddaughter – the one with the boob-sweat stains on her blouse. I’m so proud.”

14 thoughts on “My Grandpa and Your Grandpa”

  1. Those are wonderful entries. My paternal grandmother died a couple months ago and I wish I had known her better. She was a wonderful seamstress and I will always remember that she tailored my wedding dress for me and custom created a performance dress for me to use in my high school band/orchestra days. Thank you for posting something that reminds us to take the time to remember our family members.

  2. I know this one thing. Mo is looking at you now and despite your sweaty places she still is so proud of you. She absolutely adored you no matter what…I know this for sure…
    oh yeah, and that ladylike stuff….I didn’t get it either..not a lick

  3. This is completely off topic but I have to mention it. Amberbamberboo is gone. I know she hasn’t posted in more than six weeks, but now she is gone. I am in mourning. I hope she is able to start her site again and soon.

  4. …Sittin by the fire. My Grandpa told your Grandpa I’m gonna set your flag on fire….

    Great. Now I’ll be singing that song all night long. Thanks!

  5. that was very sweet. I didn’t know my paternal grandparents really at all. My grandmother died when my dad was little, and grandpa passed when I was like 4 or 5. My maternal grandparents are still here, however my grandpa has been experiencing mini strokes for months now and could have a massive one at any time. And they are far away in Montana!

  6. I was given my grandmother’s button tin several years ago…it’s my most treasured possesion. Inside the box was also a bottle of her favorite perfume with a tiny bit left inside. Every time I open that box it’s as if she’s right there with me….

  7. I know a thing or two about traveling alone with a baby. So here are my two cents worth iffin you are interested.
    Bring lots of one dollar bills so you have money to TIP the shuttle/taxi drivers and/or the curb service guys at the airport. Spend the extra money and curb check your bags- it’s just so much easier!!
    Also, have dollar bills so you can get your new best friend at the luggage claim- the Smart Cart. These little babies are worth every damn dollar (I have seen them go for as high as $3.25). Or, you could have LilZ scout the area for an abandoned one and save some bucks. Just remember: Smart Cart!!!
    On the plane the thing I found to be the easiest was to have 1.) your diaper bag stuffed with all the neurotic things you are just sure NikkiZ will need. Okay, she won’t need them all but as moms we are allowed to be insane and pack more than we need (ie: extra clothes for you, her and lilz, new toys that will interest her when she starts a little melt down, snacks-god bless veggie puffs!, plastic spoons, bum cream, dipie wipies, diapers, water bottle, sippy cup, drool/snot rag, socks, ….)
    BUT! The key here is to have bag number 2!
    This is the bag that will be teenytiny and can fit in the little pouch in the seat in front of you. Think: makeup bag type small. This is for essentials only. Trust me on this one. You are not going to be wanting to hump around in that big diaper bag of yours, which will probably be in the overhead compartment because I hope you are requesting the bulkhead row. The bulkhead row is mom’s other best friend. More room! The one downside is having to have your big bag up above. So yes, the little bag will have like one diaper and a few wipes and a toy or two and some snacks. Essentials. Once you use them replenish from big bag. This “method” of traveling got me through my big trips with little mister with only minor fraying around the edges.
    Oh- The other passengers on the plane and in the airport will be a lifesaver for keeping a bored NikkiZ happy. When little mister was getting into a state, I would find some friendly stranger to engage him with. Settled him down everytime.

    And, don’t forget to have a total blast. You are gonna do great and have great fun!

  8. My grandmother had a button tin, too. When they sold their house after 40+ years of life at the same address.. the button tin disappeared. My grandmother was really disappointed. She’d been collecting those things for 40+ years! So, I started saving every button from every bit of clothing I have bought for the last 15 years. I am no where close to filling a big cookie tin, like grandma’s. But every time I clip the “extra buttons” envelope off some new purchase, I think, “Someday, Grandma. I’m catching up.”

  9. I really enjoyed that post. My own grandmother passed away a few weeks ago, and even though it was expected, it’s still hard to believe. Tell MrZ my thoughts are with him.

  10. I love “The Giving Tree.” I think it’s such a beautiful story, and it nearly always makes me cry.

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