I have a lot of people that I admire but I will pick close to home. My grandparents I admired a lot as I grew up. I didn’t really comprehend what they had done in their lifetime until I was much older. They were just teenagers when they married, 16 and 17 I believe. They got an acre of land and bought a trailer to live in. When grandpa got out of the service he began to dig. Well, both of them did actually. They dug an area up for a basement poured concrete for the foundation and began to build their own house. They lived in the little trailer with their first born (my dad) and worked on the house. When the basement was done, they moved from the trailer into the lower level of the house. As my dad grew old enough to help, they did some beautiful stonework for both the fireplace downstairs and the main floor too.
As a kid grandpa used to get after me and my sister if we bumped into the walls or got toys too close to the woodwork. They had shutter doors on both entryways into the living room. Me and my sister liked to play with them too. Grandpa did not like that either. It wasn’t until much later that I realized this house was his masterpiece and he was just protecting his artwork.
To dig a basement, to build a house and do so with (eventually) three boys… took a lot of work and patience. And this was while grandpa worked too. Eventually grandpa started his own repair and handyman service; I remember he was almost always fixing screens and windows or going to install awnings. And grandma was his accountant, bookkeeper, receptionist, assistant… she did a lot.
But through all that work they stayed happily married into sixty plus years. When grandma eventually convinced grandpa to retire, his “job” became fishing and taking grandma on cruises. They had a lot of fun. I look back now and wish I hadn’t missed all those years seeing grandpa only as a disciplinarian instead of the craftsman he was. I learned much earlier all the work grandma did to keep up with the business and care for the cooking and the cleaning. Later in life they also took in my grandma’s mom and grandma cared for her too. She was always on the go.
On top of everything else (if that wasn’t enough) they volunteered at their church a lot. Mowing the grass every week, doing repairs and cleaning. And weekly they would mow grandpa’s mom’s yard and do her grocery shopping too.
I have probably typed my longest post, and this only scratches the surface as to why I admire my dad’s parents. They are greatly missed and still a part of my life, always in my heart.
Written for Fandango’s Dog Days of August (FDDA) #8 – something or someone you admire