In April of this year, I decided that it was time I faced my fear of flying..Actually, I didn't have much of a choice, my daughter had asked me to attend her graduation from Coast Guard basic training and I felt it she was brave enough to enlist and pass basic, I would have to be brave enough to fly and congratulate her :) I also felt it was about time that I meet my Grandfather. I had been wanted to go meet him for many years, but my fear of flying was just to great to ever actually plan a trip.
I had corresponded with my paternal Grandfather via mail on and off for the past 20 years and I had sent him pictures of me and my family and visa versa. My Paternal Grandparents were never married, they were childhood sweethearts and my grandmother ended up pregnant at a very young age, which in those days was totally taboo! So she hid the identity of the baby's father (my grandfather) from her parents and my father was eventually born and raised by his grandparents. I am told he never actually knew who his real father was until he was in high school.....long story!
So in April of this year I travelled along with my mother and fiance to Carthage Missouri to meet him for the first time...It was a truly a trip worth taking, to say the least. I knew from the letters we would write each other that my grandfather was an amazing man, but meeting him in person confirmed that for me even more! We spent a week together and he would tell us stories of his childhood in such detail that you would think they happened just yesterday. His memory was incredible! He talked of his days in the service during the war and the places he went and people he met along the way...he talked about his childhood friends and the neighborhood games they would play, he talked about his late wife Ruth and what a wonderful life they had together...Throughout his stories, he would always repeat the fact that he lived a wonderful, fun filled life...I was truly in awe at how he could remember so many stories and in such detail..I have a hard time even remembering what I ate for lunch yesterday :)
Another thing that amazed me about my Grandfather was that although he never raised my father and in fact I think they had only actually seen each other a hand full of times, he had so many of the same mannerisms as my father did. His facial expressions, his hand gestures...they reminded me so much of my father that it literally gave me goosebumps on many occasions.
My Grandfather is also the last living Grandparent I have. I lost my Paternal Grandmother and Maternal Grandfather both in the last year. The loss of my two other grandparents made me realize even more how important it was for me to take that trip I did in April.
I wish my Grandfather did not live so far away and that I could drive down the street and visit him on a daily basis..Unfortunately I can't and I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to see him in person again. But I will forever cherish the time we did have together and the stories he shared with me.
Mom, Gramps & Me
Grandpa's House and Farm in Carthage, MO
Mom, me and Grandpa at his house
My Grandfather will turn 93 years old this month. He is truly an awesome man!!!
Happy Birthday Grandpa!