Our foundation: Grandpa

My Grandfather provided his family with a solid foundation on which to build our lives.  He not only provided this to his children, but also to his grandchildren.  I knew my maternal grandparents well and they influenced me in a big way.  Both of them died when I was 33 years old.  They passed away within four months of each other at ages 84 and 82.  I grew up just a few blocks from Grandpa and Grandma and I could walk or ride my bike to their house.  I spent a lot of time with them growing up.   I was just as close when I became an adult.

Grandpa was the foundation of the family. One knew where they stood with him.  He said it like it was and did not mince any words.  He was not mean, he just let you know what he thought.  He was a moral, dependable, hard-working, kind, and a good listener.  Many times, I told him my problems and he listened.  Sometimes he didn’t offer any advice, he just listened.  I found that he was the person that I liked talking to the most because he just listened.  When he did give advice, it was always solid. 

He had certain beliefs that I remember to this day. You don’t take off work unless you are really sick and a cold wasn’t reason enough to take off work.  You worked through your cold; you did not take to bed. You stayed with one job your whole life.  You did not quit and go from job to job.  Children should have chores, and he would check to make sure they were done. Everyone must be home for dinner and eat together.  If you didn’t like what was for dinner you had to sit there anyway until everyone was finished.  You were not offered something else to eat.  You ate what grandma made or you went hungry, and you must eat everything you put on your plate.  There were hungry children in China. 

He was definitely a disciplinarian.  As a kid you just knew you didn’t cross him and I never tried.  I can only remember a couple of times that he had to yell at me and I was devastated.  I could not stand for Grandpa to be mad at me or disappointed in me.  I mentioned this to my brother one time when were adults and Grandpa was long gone, and my brother said he felt the same way.  

Grandpa was a steady as can be.  He held down the same job for over 40 years.  He and grandma were married 58 years when they passed away.  They lived in the same house for over 40 years.  He kept his cars for years until he had no choice but to get a new one. 

Grandpa was frugal with money. He would repair things around the house until they could no longer be repaired before he would buy new.  His parents gave them furniture for a wedding present, and they had that furniture reupholstered twice and still had it at the end of their lives. 

My grandfather was a big man, who played sports in his youth.  As he got older, he loved watching them on TV.  He bowled into his old age and he loved to garden.  He had a beautiful yard with flowers and a big vegetable garden.  He was a big animal lover and he always had a dog.  The last one was a Boxer and Grandpa would take him for walks.  He’d save his last bite of food for the dog.  The dog knew when it was time for Grandpa to come home from work and he would wait on the front porch for him.

Grandpa loved his family and he passed on his values to his children and grandchildren.  So it is for this reason that I say he was our foundation.  I married a man much like my grandfather.  They both liked each other and got along well. 

In his late 70’s he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and it was with great sadness that we watched my once vibrant and intelligent grandfather decline.  In the end he did not know us. 

Copyright © 2022 Gail Grunst

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