by Ruth Storkel
If you are a grandchild reading this, we say, “You are SO BLESSED!”
Grandparents enrich our lives in unspeakable ways! We celebrate these amazing people who invest time, love, support, and resources as we live our lives.
I’m thankful I had 2 wonderful, loving grandmothers as I grew up. (Unfortunately, my grandfathers both died before I entered school.)
Grandma Lillian was a life-long Oregonian. She loved nurturing plants—African violets and geraniums were her favorites. Grandma was a marvelous cook: great fried chicken, mashed potatoes, pies, and strawberry shortcakes were some of her specialties. In later years, she learned to paint china and drove herself to “china-painting classes.” With many grandchildren, she somehow was able to remember our birthdays, and we could always count on getting a card and opening it up to find that highly treasured dollar bill!
Grandma Wilma (Grammy, we called her) lived an adventuresome life, traveling out from Missouri with her parents to a homestead in Colorado. Eventually, she became a “Californian” but died a “Washingtonian.” She rode up to Idaho on the Greyhound bus for a few visits, bringing a suitcase filled with surprises, which included huge bags of M and M’s! (How exciting that was!) She sang lively folk songs and told us bedtime stories that she made up: Grandpa Dolittle and his wild escapades! She introduced us to our first taste of homemade pizza, which was just becoming popular in the ’50s.
My two grandmothers were very different, but we felt their love, support, and delight in spending time with us and being our grandmothers.
I asked others in the community what grandparent memories they treasure. Here are some “sharings”:
“I have some cool memories about my grandmother, who we called ‘Dana.’ (The nickname came from my mom when she couldn’t say ‘grandma’; we adopted it as a family tradition). Dana always told me to make sure I saved room for dessert. She adored her grandkids as smart, inventive, talented, and, of course, attractive. My grandmother lived in an active senior mobile home park where she swam, played pool, and was quite a card shark, playing poker with the cigar-smoking men there. Dana wore high-heeled Converse tennis shoes. She used to make me Ovaltine in a blue coffee mug with dolphins on it. I think of her and smile when I drink my coffee from that cup.” dg
“Unconditional love with more laughter than we knew what to do with describes game nights with Grandma. One night I remember my sister laughing so hard she fell off her chair. Although we always played to win, we also cheered each other on. Poor sportsmanship was never considered. We just had fun celebrating each other. Grandma’s game nights provided memories for a lifetime.” jn
“Until I was five years old, my immediate family, along with Grandpa Paul and Grandma Sadie, all lived in the desert where the temperature during the summer would reach 120 F. For years, my grandparents kept a Mason jar full of water, with a straw sticking out of the top, in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator door. I loved drinking the ice cold water when I was thirsty!” mbc
“My Grandpa loved to fish. A large part of his workshop was taken up with it. We all (his 12 grandchildren and oldest grandchildren) had to save gum wrappers for him. He’d peel the tin off and melt it down to make sinkers for his fishing lines.” zr
“Homemade corn mush, fresh milled, grilled to perfection, topped with honey from the beehive out back. At the age of 15, I had no idea how good I had it! I worked for my grandparents in the summer in the large garden, orchard and vineyard. They were in their 60s, but they were hippies at heart. All organic, no pesticides, endless composting and tending. How it looked was second to how it tasted. And, oh my, what flavor! I have been a foodie ever since. But the best part of it all was sitting with Grandpa and Grandma at lunch talking! Grandpa was a wealth of history, philosophy, and current events. Grandma was a prayer and Scripture lover. They fed my body, my mind, and my soul. I will always miss them; they will always be with me.” mb
Educator, coach, and pastor Bruce Gordon wrote an article:
“5 Reasons Why Grandparents are Important”.
Some of these reasons include:
- Perspective: Grandparents can provide the young with
valuable insights and mentor them.
2. Grandparents can help provide a stability that is needed amid
the societal turbulence they face today.
3. Grandparents can help provide adventure that children are seeking,
using their life experiences to take them to explore the city, a
museum, an observatory, a farm, and a fishing hole.
4. Grandparents provide kids with real connections, people who are
interested in them, and have wisdom to share as they face life’s
challenges and changing landscapes.
5. Grandparents love their grandchildren with unconditional love
not found elsewhere.
Things others have said about grandparents include:
“Grandparents are the best kind of grown-ups!”
“Grandmas never run out of hugs and cookies.”
“Grandfathers are for loving and fixing things.”
“Being a Grandpa means you can be as silly as you want to be.”
“Grandparents are, without a doubt, some of the world’s best educators.” (Charles W. Shedd)
In the Burien community,to have a thriving, healthy culture, more grandparents are needed. Some children do not (nor ever will) have a grandparent because of life circumstances. Likewise, some older people do not, or will ever have, their own grandchildren (or perhaps their grandchildren live far away, prohibiting spending much time with them.)
Have you ever considered reaching out and “adopting a grandchild”? Of sharing your experiences, time, strength, support, and enjoyment of life with a child? Your involvement in a child’s life can have an enriching, long-lasting impact! Such actions can build bridges and strengthen families in our community! “Grandparents are the perfect blend of love, laughter and happy memories,” someone once said.
“Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another.” (Richard Garnett). What a difference a grandparent can make in the life of a child! A child in Burien!