Saturday, January 5, 2008

My grandpa Jack

The last week since my grandpa’s death has been a roller coaster of emotions. The memories of the best times with him have crept their way into my everyday life. The oddest things will induce a memory or a thought of him.

I have a great respect for my grandpa’s life. He was an incredible man. I can only hope that I will be as positive of an influence on my grandchildren as my grandpa Jack has been for me.

He taught me humility. He never bragged of his own accomplishments. Even when you complimented him on a painting he had done or another successful undertaking he would just say thank you.

He taught me how important it is to be creative no matter what your talents. His woodworking, his paintings, his drawing. All came together to give him a creative outlet. He would always ask me, “what did you create this week?” “It’s important to use both sides of your brain you know.” And when my creative talents fell short of what I wanted, he’d just say, “but did you enjoy doing it? Well that’s what’s important.”

He taught me about support. When I showed an interest in drawing trees, he bought me a book on drawing trees. When I was struggling with calculus, he dug out all of his old calculus books to give to me. He tried to help me find a different way to learn it. I failed miserably but he smiled just the same when I passed the class with the lowest passing grade. “Well you did it. That’s what matters.” When I wanted to learn to do something, he’d do it with me. Even when it was a latch hook rug.

He taught me that there are no gender barriers. Encouraging my love of cars and how they worked, telling me all about engineering, making me watch golf, watching him cook and bake. No matter what I did or wanted to do, he never told me, “that’s for boys” or “that’s for girls.”

He instilled a love of gardening. He showed me every aspect of gardening. He let me pick out seeds and plants. He included me in drawing out the garden plan each spring. Sitting in the garden and eating tomatoes and peas off the vine were encouraged each summer.

He taught me to have pride in others’ accomplishments. He came to every play or musical or band concert I was ever involved with. He came to my track meets. He took me out for breakfast when my report cards came in and celebrated, even when the grades were not straight A’s. “Did you do the best you could? That’s what matters.” Then he turned around a bragged to anyone that would listen about every little success I ever had.

He taught me the importance of education. “Never stop learning.” He beamed when I chose a college. He never said a word when I dropped out. He beamed again when I went back to school. He continued to pursue his own intellectual endeavors long after retirement. Learning HAM radio. Telling me how “you shouldn't let your brain turn to mush.” The well worn magazines from his subscription to Popular Science that sat on his end table. All reminded me that learning wasn’t just for school.

He taught me to do something special for someone. He made me oatmeal scotchies. Just because they were my favorite. And never for any special reason. Walking to DQ and playing on the playground on the way. Just because.

He taught me to stand up for others. The poor school nurse never saw it coming.

He taught me to have respect for everyone. Sir and m’am when I didn’t know someone. Mr. and Mrs. when I did. And always to say thank you.

He taught me the real meaning of love.

Grandpa, I love you. I miss you. And I’ll never forget what you taught me. I promise.


Kathi B said...

That is a very special tribute to what sounds like a great man. I am praying for you and your family during this difficult time.

Carolyn said...

Thanks Kathi.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute! I hope it appears in your book when it is published. Remember I am ordering at least 25 copies when it is hot off the press.

You are a very special woman!

Your Mom