Grandpa always said that there was nothing more beautiful than a tall woman, standing straight and proud. He would know, because he married a tall woman and had a family of tall daughters and granddaughters.
I cherished the time I spent working on the farm with him – having deep conversations while pulling weeds, or riding on the scorching hot fender of a tractor. I learned the satisfaction of hard work and share his enthusiasm for gardening.
I never would have attempted to remodel my bathroom or build a patio if it wasn’t for the confidence in myself that I leaned while helping him in the garage and around the farm. It was often a process of trial and error as I figured out which tool was what, but I was a quick study. And like my father, grandpa taught me that girls were just as capable as boys.
Grandpa is probably best known for his stories about his childhood, the war, going to college, and his work. I am sure that we all know the one about his trials communicating with the foreman at a mill in Italy. Or how he targeted planes with “stereoscopic vision”. If had a nickel for every time he told a story I would be very rich, but nonetheless I am richer for hearing about all his adventures and the interesting life he lead.
His stories about college impressed upon me how important it was work hard in school. I know that he was proud of his children and grandchildren for going to college.
When it came to recycling, grandpa was way ahead of his time. He could make all sorts of cleaver things out of odds and ends. He had an artistic streak and made bits of folk art – like painting flowers on an old milk can or making the perfect stool for weeding the garden.
I feel fortunate that I was able to get to know my grandfather so well, especially when many people in my generation lost touch with their families. Grandpa taught me many things and much of who I am is thanks to him.
Me on grandpa's lap (July, 1979).