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November 9, 2009


It's happening again.  I'm sitting by the computer, alone in the living room, late in the evening, soft music coming from the TV and only one light on, and I start getting introspective.  Not in a bad way; not lamenting something in my life or anything like that. Just thinking back to the past, not for any real purpose, but just remembering.  While thoughts like this can come to me at any time, it's times like this where I get the urge to post about them.  So here you go.

These are just some stories, and certainly don't encompass all of my memories.  Just ones that occur to me at this moment.

All four of my grandparents are gone, my grandmother passing about 15 years or so ago (is it bad that I can't remember the exact year?).

My grandfather on my dad's side died in 1979 (I was 8), and while I have a lot of memorable images in my head, I don't have that many experiences in my head.  I remember playing with the little bowling pins he had that were (I assume, if my memory serves) earned as various bowling awards.  I didn't know any better at the time, though.  I just knew that they were bowling pins and that they fell down if I rolled a ball at them.  I don't remember his voice, though, or any specific experiences.  To put it in modern terms, I have a lot of photos in my head, but no videos, if that makes sense.

Thankfully, our immediate family was spared any further deaths until my grandmother on my dad's side died, the summer after my first year of college.  I remember my brother and I rushing home one weekend because we thought the end was near, but she bounced back pretty well.  My brother had a major project due (or something like that) and so we actually came back on Saturday night.  I completed my freshman year and then she died that summer.  I think I was the last person she said anything to, but I'm not sure.  Her, I remember quite vividly.

We spent Christmas Eve down at her house (Christmas Day was with my mom's family) and we always had a lot of fun.  She lived in a very small house, so we eventually started going to my uncle's place, which was much larger.  We played games before dinner and after opening presents.  We used to tease her all the time when we were playing Push Rummy, when she couldn't draw the right card and her hand would get so full that she had to set some cards down on the table.  We used to playfully accuse her of trying to cheat when she would then forget they were there.

Of course, once I reached a certain age, mowing the yard moved from being Dad's job (and then, for a while, my brother's, and though I don't have any memories of him actually doing it, I'm sure he did) to mine.  And that also involved going down to Grandma's and doing hers as well.  Before I could drive, my brother would drive me down and then do some odd jobs for her while I mowed the yard.  (I'm being charitable here and assuming that he did, because I don't remember him doing that either, but I also don't remember him just sitting on his ass watching me, so he must have been doing something).  After I was done, she made us dinner if we could stay and we had a really nice time.  I remember one night quite vividly, her making tacos for us.

She was always a church-going woman, and while Grandpa was still alive, they would drive up the hill and pick my brother and me up and take us to church.  After Grandpa died, she relied on other church members to bring her (she never learned to drive) and thus we stopped going.  It was too much of an imposition on them to go out of their way like that.  We did go a few times on holidays, though.  She was always a religious woman, but I also don't really remember her pushing it on anybody.  As an adult now, I really value that in a religious person.  Anyway, at one point after Grandpa died, we got her an unlisted phone number, but there's always the chance of a wrong number.  One night, she got a wrong number call, and it was a troubled youth.  I have no recollection of what his/her problem was (I think it was a male), but I do remember that she talked to him for quite a while and believed afterward that she had really helped him.  She always believed that it was God's will that made him dial that wrong number.  We'll never know, of course, but it's a nice thought.

My grandparents on my mom's side survived until I was established up in Chicago.  My grandfather lived to a ripe old age, but sometimes in the last few years I'm not sure how much he knew/remembered.  It became kind of a running family joke how he would tell the story about the really bad snowstorm when the roads were blocked, and how he used the bus he was driving at the time to clear the way for the other cars.  Sometimes he would call us by the wrong names, or one of us other grandkids by the wrong name when he was referring to them.  But we still loved him dearly.  I remember their house quite well, Christmas dinners down in the family room where his TV was.  He would watch the Cubs games down there.  He had been hard of hearing for a long time, so he always watched it with the sound down.  He hated the announcers anyway, always saying that he didn't need some guy to be telling him what was happening.  He could see for himself.  He was a baseball fan, and I remember him taking me down to the Quad-Cities Angels games a few times.  I loved being out at the game with Grandpa.

Of course, one of my favourite memories of him was when I started mowing their yard.  He had finally reached the point where he couldn't do it anymore.  After I was done, he'd give me the $5 he felt he owed me and said "Now don't you be buying beer with this."  This was, of course, when $5 could actually buy you a six-pack.  I was in high school, so of course I wasn't buying beer with it.  Though when I was in college, I have to admit that I did consider that money to be laundered.  I didn't buy beer with it, but I did use it to replace the money that I did buy beer with.  Was that wrong?  Both of my grandparents were very anti-alcohol, though Grandma was probably aware that us college students and older were probably drinking at least a little bit.  Grandpa would often say how proud he was of his family and how none of us drank, did drugs, got divorced (this was before any divorces had happened) or anything like that.  I think us college students kind of looked at each other and hid smirks.  But I do like to think that that kind of upbringing, both from my parents as well as my grandparents, kept me from doing anything even remotely stupid with the drinking that I did do (well, most of the time...and you'll have to beg me for those stories).

After Grandpa died, Grandma was the only one left.  I loved all of my grandparents dearly, though in different ways obviously.  Perhaps it's because I was a full adult interacting with Grandma (Grandpa was still alive too, but he wasn't as active and his memory was going even more), but I've always felt closest to her.  I was a bratty teenager and early college student when my other Grandma died, and she had been ill for about a year or so before I went to college, so we never interacted on the same level.  But this one?  We bonded over a few things.

She had spent the last 10 years or so really taking care of Grandpa, and I think that took a toll on her.  I know she didn't get much of a chance to go out and do things.  After Grandpa died, I swear she lived more in those 9 months before she died as she did in the ten years before that, at least as an individual (not talking about her as being part of the rest of the family).  She even made it up to Chicago to see where both me and my brother were living, as well as her first great-granddaughter.  She seemed to really come alive at that point, and I think she was truly happy.  Of course, she was sad that Grandpa was no longer there, and I'm sure she got lonely at times, but she packed a lot of individual living in those 9 months.

The reason I say that I was closest to her is because, when I was home, we would go out to lunch sometimes and just sit and talk.  We'd talk about anything and everything.  We always went to a fast food place like McDonald's.  Partially because I was a college student and had no money (and I didn't want her to have to pay much if she insisted on buying), but mostly because we could just sit there and talk after we were done eating.  We never went at a busy time, so they didn't care how long we sat there.  I'd tell her about college life (though I did avoid any party tales) and we'd talk about books, music, movies, family, whatever occurred to us.  She was so tickled that I wanted to spend time with her, and I think it was a nice escape for her too.  She had everything layed out for Grandpa as far as medicines and food for lunch, but if she was at home she'd have to be taking care of him directly.  This gave her a bit of freedom, even if it was only for two hours or so.

I remember I took her to Driving Miss Daisy and a preview of some movie came on that was a little bit racy (or maybe there was a racy scene in this movie?  I don't remember). I commented on my surprise at her reaction to it, which was 180 degrees different than I had expected.  She just shook her head and, in her distinctive voice that I wish I had the words to get across, said "Everybody thinks I'm such a *prude*!"  And we were wrong to think that, of course.  She loved Sue Grafton novels, and while they're no S.J. Day books, they're not exactly Victorian.

Grandma was always into gadgets, and I often wonder what she would think of all this Internet and social media stuff if she were alive today.  The Internet was around before she died, of course, but it wasn't really coming into its own as a place where everybody was.  I think she'd love it.  She would throw herself into learning about it, using it, and having fun with it.  She'd be on Facebook, of course, but she might even be on Twitter (or at least read it), or do some other social networking as well.  Maybe this would all have come too fast and furious for her, but I think she would have felt the need to understand it and be a part of it, at least a little bit.

I often wonder what any of my grandparents would make of me, how I am now, or what I'm doing.  I know Mom follows this blog religiously, and I'm sure Grandma would too.  Sometimes, before I do something, I do think about what Grandma's opinion would be of it.  Not in a "moral compass" kind of way, but just kind of a curiosity.  Would she be impressed?  Think it was cool?  Shake her head and laugh?

Obviously, parents are the most important people in a child's upbringing, but grandparents are important too.  Some of our most cherished memories involve the grandparents in some way.  We joke about taking revenge against their kids by spoiling their grandkids rotten.  But it's usually said in love.  If you have a special grandparent, or two, or three, or even all four, given them an extra hug and a kiss next time you see them.  They deserve it.

This post is for all the grandparents out there who love and cherish their grandkids with all of their hearts.  You will always hold a special place in our hearts that will last long past the point where you are no longer with us.

Update #1: Thanks, Mom, for correcting me on the date Grandpa Roy died. I've now corrected the post.


  1. Aww... what a sweet post. The only grandparent I really knew was my beloved Granny, who died in the summer of 2007 at age 100. Had she lived another six weeks, she would have made it to 101. My other grandparents died when I was too little to remember much about them. The only one I remember even seeing besides Granny was my mom's dad, who was very senile. He died in 1979 at age 85.

    I'm glad I took the time to cherish Granny, at least. She was definitely an original.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Jenny. My great-grandmother lived to be very close to 100, and she actually gave my brother art lessons for a number of years. She was the only one I really remember, though I have vague memories of my dad's grandpa down in Missouri.

    They are all original, aren't they? :)

  3. Very touching post and personally strikes a very strong chord with me when I read this. My grandmother on my mother's side died as a result of birthing complications when my mother was only 15. My grandparents on my father's side passed away within one year of each other; my grandfather the week after I was born and my grandmother almost one year later. The only grandparent I could recall was my grandfather on my mother's side and I only recall meeting him when I was around 7 as he lived on another continent. He passed away two years later.

    My parents are both in their 70s and our daughter is still too young to actually have any recollections of them. As I write this, my father is in hospital being treated for pneumonia. Although we live a fair distance from my parents, she speaks to her grandmother every week (in two word sentences, of course) and I can see that even those snippets of conversation between them really lifts my mother's spirits. My husband's parents, unfortunately live on another continent and have only met her once when she had just turned one. My father-in-law was battling serious health problems when we visited and after our visit he suddenly began to bounce back. It really makes one wonder whether the time spent with his grand daughter might have been the greatest medicine of all for him.

    Thanks so much for writing this post. It really makes one realize the importance of grandparents in one's life, particularly for those of us who sadly don't have any or enough recollections of how truly special they are. At least I am now living those experiences through my daughter's relationship with her grandparents.


  4. I must admit I could hardly finish this because I was crying so hard. (Don;t feel bad they were good tears).You have such wonderful memories of all 4 of them & I'm so glad for that. Some things you wrote I knew about & some I didn't. You said something about how they would feel about you now. Well I'm here to tell you they would all be very proud of you. They would love your choice of a wife & also what you are doing with your life. All any of us want is for you to be happy & we know you are. I have just a few things to change. Grandpa Roy died in 1979 & Grandma in 1989. You didn;t mention all the Little League games Grandpa Roy went to. Don't think he missed many.
    After reading this I hope your Dad & I can give our girls as good of memories. I could go on & on but guess I should close. Thanks for writing such a tribute to them all. Can I copy this or not since it's on a blog? I would love to keep it.

  5. Hi Mom

    You can print it out, of course. And if you do wish to forward it, there's the "share this" button at the bottom of the post that will give you a lot of different ways to do so. :)

    Thanks for the correction (though Grandma's wasn't a correction, I just didn't identify what year it was). So 1977 was the big snow storm then, right? For some reason, I thought *that* was 1979. I always got those two dates mixed up, but I just remember trying to get down to their house through the blizzard.

    If I would have included every memory, this post would have never ended, but I'm glad you added the bit about Little League. It didn't occur to me last night. Feel free to add any more if you want.

    I know you and Dad are giving the girls lots of great grandparent memories.

    So what did you think about my thoughts regarding Grandma and the Internet? Do you agree that she would have thrown herself into at least some of this?

  6. Oh yes. She would have probably bought a computer & might even have taken classes . She loved all kinds of gadgets. Guess I didn;t inherit any of that from her. The big blizzard was Jan. of 1979,or rather New Years Eve of 1978. It started on New Years Eve while We were at Mimi's. We got about 16 inches & then the next day we got about that much more. Grandpa died July 15th of 1979.Grandma Roy died August 14 1989. Maybe you can continue these memories in a later blog.

  7. Hi Bernadette

    I'm sorry that I missed replying to you! My apologies for that. Thank you so much for leaving your comment about your own situation. I'm glad that your kids are able to experience something that you weren't able to.

  8. I really miss Grandma Yeast. I miss Grandpa too of course, but not as much as Grandma. Grandpa Yeast we too far gone by the time I knew him. All I had left was the shell of a grandparent and stories.

    Grandma was a different story though. I didn't have the time with her that you did, because I lived so far away. But I did the best I could with the time I did have. She and I were pen pals for awhile and we shared the two halves of a "best friend" necklace. They were simple gestures from my 8-year-old self. But I never doubted that she knew how important she was to me.

    I remember Grandma's bird. I remember Grandma's bird singing along to Grandma's keyboarding. Dear god how Grandma could play her keyboard. She loved it as much as she loved any of us and it really made her happy.

    I remember asking her to make my doll a blanket. She was expecting this huge task and all I wanted was a little thing. 3 squares by 3 squares. Just big enough to cover the doll.

    I don't remember but my mom does, the time I asked her point blank if I could have a certain blanket she had made because I wanted something from her before she died. My exact words. Grandma nearly had a heart attack on the spot, but she gladly gave me the blanket I wanted. I don't think she realized how special I'd consider such a gift. I was only 7 or so. To this day I have that blanket and my boys aren't allowed near it. It's the only blanket, besides the doll one, that I have from Grandma and I'd bust into a million pieces if anything ever happened to it.

    Then there are the what ifs. What if she had lived long enough to see me as a teenager? Would she understand the whole Goth thing? No one else really did but I think she would. She'd at least do her best to try to. And now, with my blog... I think it would break her heart to read how much I hurt inside, but I know in my heart she'd read every word. On second thought, maybe it's better she didn't live to meet the adult me. I don't think I could deal with knowing how much my inner hurt would hurt her. I know my mom can hardly handle it. And I think my mom is tougher than Grandma. She's had to deal with more heart break. Maybe not though. Hard to tell comparing child memories to adult memories.

    I remember the Grandma who took care of Grandpa. I remember asking her once if she loved Grandpa. I don't remember her answer but I know it wasn't an easy one. She couldn't put that much work into caring for someone she didn't love. But I do know she was held back for years by Grandpa and his needs.

    I do remember and have heard stories about how she really seemed to come alive and live life after Grandpa passed. She was finally free and she took life by the horns.

    I regret that my Grandma will never meet my boys. She's love them and they'd love her. It just doesn't seem fair.

    As far as my kids and their grandparents... I think that's one reason I don't feel bad that my mom has the boys every weekend. If she ever needs a weekend off she takes it. But otherwise she has this great opportunity to really know her grandbabies and they will know her for all the rest of her life. Can you imagine the memories you'd have if you lived with Grandma Yeast 2/7th of your life? My mom was there to bare witness the first time my boys said Grandma. She'd seen first steps, heard first words. She'll be there for all the sports events or school plays or band concerts. She's kissed skin knees, caught leaps into the deep side of the pool, and taken the training wheels off of first bikes. She is in their life to the best of her abilities and my boys will grow up being close to her like I only wish I was able to be close to Grandma.

    I'll admit I'm a little jealous.

    Alright so now that my comment is as long as your post, I'll go ahead and end this. But anytime you are feeling nostalgic and went to talk about Grandparents, let me know. You'll have my interest.

  9. Wow, Karen. Thanks so much for the comment and the stories. That's one reason I posted this.

    I think she would have understood the Goth phase, since Teri went through a similar phase. Not Goth, but she went through a very dark phase and she accepted that. She wasn't happy with it, but she accepted it.

    Your boys are very lucky that their grandma is so involved, and I'm sure they'll cherish that one day.

  10. Damn, I should proofread these comments first. I hope all of the tangled pronouns in that second paragraph make sense. LOL

  11. I couldn't not comment. Thanks for your stories. I regret not knowing my grandparents as an adult. I regret living so far away from everybody. I would give anything to have more memories. But you got the best ones I have to offer.

  12. And they were just as valuable as any others. I know it's tough living far away. I moved even further away than you are now (though, granted, the situations are quite different) and it's tough sometimes.

    You're very welcome, and you're also always welcome to share more if you'd like. Maybe I will as well, as time goes on.

  13. I found your post through surfing for new blogs on Networked Blogs, and I felt compelled to comment three months on. I lost my grandfather last month and I'm still going through the motions of grief and loss. To read a post of someone who lovingly remembers their grandparents gives me comfort when I remember my own.

    Unlike you, I did not lose my grandparents until late, the first being my father's father at the age of 24. My mother's father followed just several weeks ago, so I can safely say that I have been gotten to know them for a good amount of time before they were called back. I had been taking a sabbatical from blogging when my first grandfather passed away, but I was able to write a blog post about my mother's father on my own website, which my father found and circulated it to my mother and relatives. I don't know if they'll be following my blog like your mother does (or your grandmother would have had) but it connected my family in an entirely different way. They were tears too, but that of a cathartic manner, because we shared the grief together, and that lightened it a bit from all our shoulders, collectively.

    The wonderful thing about having those people in our lives is that they mark us permanently when they leave. In a good way of course. Their memories live through us, and we get the opportunity to tell our children (or even friends, as what I have been doing) about what wonderful people they were. Not to mention, we are physically part THEM, and what in itself is a legacy.

    Again, thanks for this post. You write well, and look forward to reading and commenting on more of your posts.

  14. Hi Maria

    My condolences on the loss of your grandfather.

    Your compliments mean a lot to me, so thank you very much for those. It can be very cathartic to relive memories of those loved ones we have lost, though it's understandable sometimes if the person isn't able to do it right away.

    I have the blessings of time past when I remember mine. The wound isn't raw, as it's been many years since it happened. Now we remember the good things, the funny things, the weird and wacky things, and it brings a smile to our faces.

    I always love meeting new people, and I'm happy to have met you. I hope you keep reading and enjoying, and commenting as well. Do you have a link to your blog, so I can take a look?

    Oh, and having your mother follow your blog can be a curse sometimes. :)

    LOL Sorry, Mom, if you do end up coming back to read this. I'm just teasing. :P

  15. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the reply. I agree on the idea of family reading blogs can be double-edged sword. I have dealt with censorship issues in the past, issues that have long been resolved, of course.

    I'm glad to have found you online as well. It's rare to find blogs that are so incredibly well-written. I'll definitely be back to comment. =)

    My website is:, but I blog or "jot" over here: It would be great to hear from you too.

  16. Hi Maria!

    Well, I don't censor least not *too* much. I do rein myself in a little bit, but not just for family. Also for any other people I know who are out there reading, especially my place of employment. :)

    And thank you so much again for the compliment. It feels so good to be appreciated. I will have to come back and read these whenever I'm down. :)

  17. This post really is nice, and thank you for it. Yesterday my first grandchild was born, Sophia, and I haven't gotten to see her yet. There where complications during the delivery and she had to be transferred to another hospital. Because I felt the parent's need support and because they want to be there to show her off to me for the first time, I visited them at the hospital (my son and his girlfriend).

    Tomorrow I will get to see her and am so excited.

  18. You're very welcome, Beth! Thank you so much for the comment. I wish you and your family all the best, and I'm sure your face will light up the first time you set eyes on her.

  19. I'm following your wonderful blog on NB and google just have a look at please


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