“What are/were your grandparents like?”
They could not have been more different! My mom’s parents were Gram and Grandpa. My dad’s parents were Nanny and Pop.
My Grandpa was kind, gentle, soft-spoken, semi-affectionate but not overly so, and had a wicked corny sense of humor. Mom and I still share jokes we come across and roll our eyes, saying, “Grandpa would have loved that one!” His name was Alfred, yet everyone called him Jim. We have no idea how or why. Haha. All the neighborhood kids loved him. I had a paper route as a young teen, and he was on my route. In the cold winters, he would have hot tea or chocolate waiting for me. So, I would go on inside and sit with him for a spell before I had to carry on. I enjoyed those little moments. He had the most uncomfortable couch in the world. Always got a spring to the butt when you sat on it. He most often had something cooking in the pressure cooker, and there was usually something taken apart on his kitchen table. Usually a tv, or a radio. He liked to tinker and fix things. He had this cute laugh, literally a “Heh heh heh..” I can still hear it in my head. He would never say goodbye. It was the funniest thing to me. If I said, “Bye Grandpa, see yah later!” he would respond with, “Yep. Okay…” and he would wave his hand at you. He had nicknames for all his kids. He drove like an old person. I would be surprised if his car ever went over 30 mph. He was never in a hurry. He was healthy, and his passing was sudden and quick. My mom found him. It was awful. I think of him often….
My Gram was quite the opposite. She was kind, but not affectionate at all. She had no filter, so if she thought it, she usually said it. She sometimes came across as crass and abrasive as a result. She was fun to talk with. I had some great conversations with her over the years. Always got birthday cards, she never missed a birthday party or anything important in my life. She bought my wedding dress for my first wedding. In her later years, we would hang out and watch Red Sox games. She loved her some baseball. I would take her to doctors appointments, and shopping, and she would always try to pay me. It drove me mad. I would always refuse, telling her there was no need, that I enjoyed the time with her. I would bring in her groceries and help her put it all away. One day, I went in the glove box of my car for something, and like $80 bucks fell out. She had been stuffing ten dollar bills in when I would get out to take her groceries in. LOL. She drove super fast, was always on the go, and also had a laugh that I can still hear. Get her going, and she would snort. She lived a good long life. She left my Grandpa when my mom was still young. She remarried and had two more children. Grandpa never remarried, and shortly before his passing, he told my mom that he still loved Gram and he always would. Her passing was tough, as a steady decline in her health seemed to drag on… I know it was hard on my mom so that compounded things for me. I miss her, and I watch my Red Sox games with her in my heart.
My Pop was loud and boisterous and full of life. He had a big personality. He had huge hands, and big, crazy eyebrows. His face was very expressive. He had a big, booming laugh. He loved my Nanny so… He supposedly did not like children, but he was wonderful with me. He played with me when I was little. He treated me wonderfully as I was growing up. He loved his coffee, ate his eggs super super runny, and put sugar on his spaghetti. He was wonderfully talented in woodworking, and made lots of furniture ( I have a lot of it still!) and toys and whatnot. He was an amazing gardener! Their gardens were really something, and his houseplants were always thriving. He loved wrestling. I used to love watching it with him. Ric Flair was his favorite. He was usually in bed no later than 8 p.m., or 9 on the nights wrestling was on. He was up no later than 4 a.m. I spent almost 3 weeks with him toward the end of his life. He had cancer. He died on my 27th birthday, just a few days after I had returned home from visiting them. it gutted me and I have never really gotten over it.
My Nanny. Oh, the stories I have been told about her! She was a very different woman before my time. The woman I knew was soft, kind, loving, caring, and she loved Jesus. She was super affectionate. She loved her grandkids. She loved to cook. Her door was always open. Nanny and Pops porch was a wonderful place to be. SO many memories of family and friends sitting around talking. She would make all my favorite meals when I would come to visit. When I was a kid, we would have sleepovers. She had these heavy, super thick sleeping bags she would drag down and plop in front of the tv. We would eat ice cream and junk and watch movies together. She stayed up late. She would watch a little tv, pay the bills, neaten up the house, do the dishes, and usually head to bed around 1 or so. I loved having coffee with her in the morning. She would always make a big breakfast when Pop would come in from his garage. As an adult, I would write to her. She loved that. I did not do it enough. I did not call her enough either. I did make the most of my visits with her and Pop though. I miss the days of living in the same town as they did and having all of the gatherings and get togethers we used to have. BBQs and crab feasts, holidays.. it was all so wonderful. Her health declined steadily, and her passing came at a very dark time in my life. I remember telling her once, when I was about 5, that she would never get old and die.. and in my heart I believed that. Her death also hit me quite hard.
I loved all of my grands and I was extremely lucky to have them as long as I did. They were so very different!! But they all meant the world to me, and I miss them every day..
Until next time …