As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, family history is a big deal. But recently, with the death of my grandma on my dad’s side, and the decline of my grandma on my mom’s side, I realized I have little of my family history preserved. At least, family history going further back than my own childhood.
We have the genealogy, so that’s not a problem. But many of the stories about my grandparents and the stories of their lives have not been written down, and now there is no way to ask them. (Both my grandpas died during my preteen years.)
So I’ve embarked upon family history projects, to scan old pictures and write down (and badger my family into writing down) stories about our grandparents/parents. The work is going slowly, but at least I’ve started. Today I felt impressed to share what I’ve written about my mom’s parents:
Going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house was always exciting. Their house had three stories, which was very exciting to kids whose house only had two, and were only allowed on the first floor. Grandma would let us eat sugary cereal and cookies, play Nintendo, and watch the same two cartoon movies over and over again (Tom and Jerry: The Movie and The Magic Trolls and the Troll Warriors.) Downstairs we loved to play fooseball and table hockey. The backyard was an adventure land, with overgrown plant life and lots of places to hide. Every time we left to go home, Grandpa would offer us a candy orange slice.
Thanksgiving was always at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I remember Grandma adding flour to the turkey gravy to thicken it up. She told me not to tell Grandpa, since he didn’t like her to add the flour.
Christmas Eve was also always at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, with the extended family. There was always a boot present from them to each grandkid. One year they bought me a brown teddy bear, which is named “Benjamin.” At their house was a Christmas tree with a model train running around it. Grandpa read to us How the Grinch Stole Christmas every Christmas Eve, with lots of great voices.
One Christmas Eve, Grandpa told me a special visitor would be coming. The family was so surprised when a magician arrived! Grandpa looked at me and said “I told you someone was coming!” It was like our little joke. I was entranced by the magic show. There was one trick with color-changing wooden rabbits, which was an especially funny trick to play with our family, since all the boys except one are color-blind.
When Mom and Dad wanted to get away from us kids, we always went to Grandma and Grandpa’s. One year, when Mom and Dad we’re going to the Renaissance Faire, they asked us kids if we wanted to go to the faire or to Grandma and Grandpa’s. I said to Grandma and Grandpa’s. As much as I enjoyed faire, I couldn’t resist the lure of visiting Grandma and Grandpa. (When Mom and Dad came to pick us up and were dressed in their costumes, I started crying because I hadn’t gone. Ah, an early lesson in opportunity cost.)
I used to sit with Grandma and she would tell me about her life. She told me about when she was a girl in Utah and she would go to the local cemetery and have picnics on a stone lion that was there as a memorial for someone. She told me about how she and Grandpa eloped. I wasn’t quite sure what “eloped” meant, but I was sure it was something exciting.
I know how much Grandma has missed Grandpa since he died. When she is gone, I’ll miss her, too, but I’ll be comforted to know that she is with Grandpa again.