Friday, October 24, 2008

The Passing of Grandpa Art

My last-living grandparent, Grandpa Art, passed away this morning, so I write this post in honor of him.  Grandpa lived a long, productive life.  He died in his sleep this morning at the ripe old age of 95, having out-lived his wife, my Grandma Lenore, and surely most of his friends.  Grandpa left behind 2 sons, 2 daughters, 12 grandchildren, and I'm not sure how many great-grandchildren.  

I think I have Grandpa to thank for starting the love of Springer Spaniels in our family.  Grandpa had Spike, an English Springer Spaniel, when he was growing up, and since then, my aunt and uncle had 2 while I was a kid, I grew up with one and a half (we were told she was a full-blooded Springer, but she wasn't) Springers, and I now have 2 of my own.  Grandpa always loved to talk about my dog Maggie, and how she would hide under his bed when he was staying at my parents' house when Mike and I got married.  The last few years I always tried to take the dogs with me when I visited Grandpa.  To be honest, I think he enjoyed the dogs being there more than he enjoyed my company, and that was ok with me.

A few other memories I have that involve Grandpa:
-For a while there he called me "Little One."
-Every spring, Grandpa and Grandma would stop in Colorado on their way back from Texas to Minnesota.  They would bring us DeMints, these Mexican mints that I hated at first, but really grew to love.
-Grandpa used to make beer pancakes, and they were really good.  
-My sisters and I used to love putting our stuffed animals down the laundry chute at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Ok, I know this memory isn't really about Grandpa, but it's about his house, which I may never go in again.  
-Grandpa used to drive this big old van down to Texas every year, and he put a special horn in it that played melodies instead of just one note.  I thought that was pretty cool.
-Grandpa loved Jolly Ranchers, and always had some on hand.

I last saw my grandpa back in August, when my sisters, my mom, and I went went to visit him in his nursing home.  I'm glad we were able to go see him, and though he was not the same grandpa I remember from the past 30 years, he was still mostly coherent.  

Below are some pictures I found of Grandpa.

These first 2 show probably my earliest memory of Grandpa.  I think I was 5 years old here, and I remember that Grandpa and I weren't actually asleep.  We were faking it.  We'd been laying on the couch with my puppy Ginger and we heard my mom and aunt coming upstairs, so Grandpa said, "Pretend we're asleep!"  So we did, and somebody took our picture.  

This is Becky and me lying in Grandpa's bed with him.  I'm not sure how old we were.

Here's Sandy, me, and Becky with Grandpa and Grandma at their house.  Again, I'm not sure when this was taken, but I'm guessing we're about 12, 6, and 9, respectively.

This picture is Becky and me with Grandpa and Grandma.  Again, I'd guess I'm around 6 years-old, so this would be about 1983/1984 or so.

This picture was taken at mine and Mike's wedding in 2001.  Grandma was starting to be a little less with it mentally, but she was so fun, and she always talked about how she and Grandpa loved to dance.  We did a special married people dance at our wedding where the couples left the floor based on how long they'd been married.  At that point, Grandpa and Grandma had been married for over 60 years, I think, so they were the last couple on the floor.  

This next picture was taken at Christmastime, 2005.  Zach was 6 and a half months old here.  We accidentally put a picture key-chain of Zach in Grandpa stocking (it was supposed to go into my Dad's stocking), and that was a great mistake to make.  Grandpa loved that keychain.  He would wear it on his shirt and he told me many times how waitresses and total strangers would ask him about the cute baby in the picture.  He sure was proud of that picture.  If you look closely, you can see the keychain around Grandpa's neck in this picture.

This picture was taken the last time I saw Grandpa, back in August.  It was a good visit.

Here's Sandy, Grandpa, my Mom, and my nephew Anders last month.  I love the expression on Grandpa's face.  You can tell that even though he wasn't really with it anymore, he was pretty taken with his newest great-grandson.

It's good to know that Grandpa is at peace now. I believe he's up in Heaven now, laughing and dancing with his crazy wife (Grandma Lenore was a riot of a lady who loved to dance). Rest in Peace, Grandpa.


Goldenzinns said...

thank you Sarah for a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Laura said...

that was a very sweet post, Sarah. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time.

zinncaulfield said...

Love you Grandpa! Nice post Sarah. Loved the pictures!

Adam and Jaime said...

I am sorry for your loss. It looks like your grandpa was a wonderful man - the keychain story is so sweet.

Carey said...

Sorry to hear about your Grandpa - the stories and photos you shared were very sweet. BJ and I are thinking of you and your family.