Sixty Five

On the 4th of August my grandparents will have been married 65 years.

Here are some things I can tell you about them from my admittedly limited stores of knowledge, this list is not comprehensive, but I hope it shows just a tiny bit how wonderful they are.

  • They met in Keego Harbor, Michigan when Grandpa moved here from Iowa.  They were both still in high school and Grandma once told me, when I was doing a school project about the 1940s, that she knew right away that he was the one.  However all the other girls in school thought he was the one too.  She knew they were wrong though, so she held out and eventually (wisely) he came around to her way of thinking.
  • Immediately following graduation Grandpa joined the Navy.  He was stationed in Africa for much of WWII and I believe he also worked as a fire fighter on the ships. 
  • He wrote to Grandma regularly, sending letters addressed only with her name and Keego Harbor, Michigan.  No street address.  They all made it to her, but at some point, something happened.  Grandma has never been willing to tell us what, exactly happened, but whatever it was it must have been bad because she destroyed all his letters except for one Christmas card that she still has.
  • The mystery of this story drives me crazy.
  • When he returned they were married.
  • They bought a car jointly with one of his brothers.  It had no engine.
  • When Grandma went into labor with my uncle it wasn’t their night to have the car so they had to wait for my great-uncle to get home from the movies before they could go to the hospital.
  • I think they had the car situation sorted by the time my mom came around a year later as no anecdotes exist detailing difficult journeys to the hospital.
  • Grandpa drove a truck for CalGas and AmeriGas which allowed him to everything about everybody and have lots of long detailed conversations with them as well.
  • Grandpa loves having long detailed conversations with everyone.  He will talk your ear off, but you won’t mind.
  • Grandma’s favorite book is Gone With the Wind, she has about a million copies of it.
  • They are both masters of garage sale and thrift shopping.  Some of my earliest memories are of going to garage sales with them and combing through all the goods on offer looking for the best deals.
  • My grandfather keeps a garden so perfectly ordered it will make you weep with envy and he always has.
  • One year I ate all the cherries off their cherry tree and Grandma told me that such gluttony would make me constipated (according to Grandma just about everything will make you constipated if done in excess, especially swallowing chewing gum).  I did not get constipated but I did spoil my appetite.
  • Once they took my brother and I to an AmeriGas company picnic and we got to go up in a hot air balloon, I remember the earth spread out below us like a patchwork quilt.
  • When I turned 12 my grandfather built me a 3 story Victorian dollhouse which is currently being cared for by my middle niece as I am unable to ship it to London.
  • When I graduated high school my grandmother and mother made me an Amish Star quilt with a black background and tons of small multicolored stars.  It’s in my bedroom in London now.
  • Grandma has a magic basement full of crafting supplies.  I never leave her house without multiple boxes of yarn.
  • Grandpa paints beautiful pictures, usually of natural scenes.  He used to paint them on saws, frying pans, mailboxes, Butterfly houses, bird houses, kitchen cabinets, anything.  We always had the best mailbox on the street because of him.
  • We always ate Kumle at their house, and lefse too.  Although from the late 90s on Grandma got sneaky and started using tortillas (TORTILLAS!) for the lefse.  It was still delicious.
  • When we went to Naples for our honeymoon Grandpa told me stories about the little boys he met there at the end of the war and how they would help the soldiers out, for a price.  He told us to keep an eye out for similar hoodlums.  We very nearly got taken in by an old man at the train station who just wanted to help us find our platform.  I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he tried to help Grandpa out once upon a time too.
  • They signed my marriage license as witnesses on May 30th, 2007, which I still view as a great honor.
  • They have 4 children, 8 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. 
  • They are two of the kindest and most loving people you will ever meet.

I am hugely lucky to have been born into their family for reasons so varied and extensive that I would wear my fingers out trying to list them all here, but I hope the list above gives you a small indication.

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