Today is the day we honor all of those who are no longer with us. We are so fortunate to have many loved ones still in our lives, and each day I say a little thank you that our parents, and brothers and sisters, and my grandmother, are still alive and kicking.
Today I am thinking about my Grandpa Archie. He was my mom's dad, and died of a heart attack while attending his class reunion. It also happened to be my Grandma Doris's birthday, and he had just gone up and asked the band to play "Happy Birthday", when his heart just gave up, and he left us. I was 10, I remember hearing about it while eating my breakfast of Rice Krispies. It was a Sunday, and I couldn't figure out why mom hadn't woken me up to go to church. I remember that he always had a roll of Life Savers in his shirt pocket, and when he saw me he would hold out his arms, and I would take a running leap and jump into them. After he had gone, I would have dreams where he came into my room at night, and told me everything was okay. I miss him. And I am really bummed that I don't have a picture to share with you today. I will find one, and share it another day, because Archie was a handsome man.
I am thinking about my Great Grandma Ethel. I have many stories to tell about her, another whole post worth. She made homemade doughnuts, and loved to watch All Star Wrestling and Roller Derby, and lived out on the Mississippi River in her tiny little house. She passed away from a blood disease when I was a junior in high school. She is the middle one in the following picture. I clearly got my upper arms, and sense of fun, and enjoyment of alcohol, from her. I miss her. My Grandpa Don was a big part of my life. He bought me a pony, and made me a buggy to ride in, and could literally do anything. I will do another post about him at a later date, as I have many stories to tell and pictures to share about him too. He always kept a coffee can of lollipops in his shop, and taught me how to fish with a bamboo pole, and took me for walks in the woods where I learned about wild flowers and morel mushrooms. He died of cancer the summer before my senior year of high school. He is the one in the photo NOT wearing the baseball uniform and holding hands with the cute girl. Isn't he a handsome fellow? I find it rather eerie that this photo was taken on the exact same date as I am writing this post about him, 73 years ago. I have no idea who the other people in the photo are, or why it was taken. Perhaps a Memorial Day Weekend baseball game? I miss him. Grandma Betty was such a presence. ( She was married to Grandpa Don, and Ethel was her mom). She always sang while she was in her kitchen cooking, she sounded like Ella Fitzgerald. She taught me how to sew, and bought me my first sewing machine. She loved wigs, and diamond rings, and big cars. I loved playing in her basement, and going shopping with her to Gibsons. She loved to play Scrabble, and Yahtzee, and she made a mean cherry pie. She passed away in her sleep (the best way to go, in my opinion) but she did get to meet Charlie, unlike Grandpa Archie, or Great Grandma Ethel, or Grandpa Don. There will be another whole post about her someday, too. She was a twin, and her brother Bob (she was Roberta, he was Robert) is usually in pictures with her as a child. I found this one of her, all alone, and clearly I have her knees. I miss her. I can't visit their graves today, but I don't believe their spirit is really in those little plots of land anyway. Their spirit is in me, in the way I live my life, and I thank them and remember them fondly. And I hope they come and visit me in my dreams tonight, just to say hello.