Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Grandpa Bill

My Grandpa Bill has been gone for about five years now, and I really miss him. He was such a great storyteller! We used to write letters back and forth, and he was a great writer and poet! I came across a few old letters and photos from him, and I had such wonderful memories of him flood back into my mind. I felt like I had a nice visit from him, and I just thought I would share.

The picture above is how I remember him. He had such a great smile and he LOVED to fish! He took me, my mom and my brother out on his boat out on Lake Michigan (He lived in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) and I remember he jumped into the freezing lake from the boat. It was so cold, he yelled out some very bad language, and I was shocked at the time, but looking back that was pretty funny!
I also remember a picture that he sent me and my brother where he was in a trash can, and he labeled it "Oscar the Grouch." He liked to pretend that he was a grump, but he was definitely a grump with a heart of gold!
He was always so full of energy, and he was a lot of fun! He came to see a community play I was in, and everytime after that, he called me Grace Kelly. That made me feel really good, especially since my character in the play was the Tinman, and I did not feel so beautiful in my foam suit and silver face paint. He took me to lunch after the play, just me and Grandpa, and he gave me this advice: "Seize opportunities to do things now, because you never know if you'll get another chance to do them ever again." That's some pretty good advice, and I have to admit that I don't always follow it. I just came across those words of wisdom in a journal that I kept when I was fourteen, and honestly, if I hadn't written those memories of him down, I wouldn't remember them today. That's why I decided to start this blog, because I want to remember (as well as share) these special memories that I have from times past and memories that I am making today. I hope Alex will want to keep some kind of journal, because going through them when you are an adult is really special.

This poem made me smile when I reread it. Grandpa was such a good writer! I know that Alex will have special memories with both sets of his grandparents. I wish that Grandpa Bill was still around and could meet Alex. Grandpa would just love him, I'm sure. He would also make sure to tell Alex that he was Irish. Grandpa was really, really proud of his Irish heritage, even though when I had to do a report in my anthropology class on my family tree, I couldn't actually find a direct descendant from Ireland! (Shhh! Don't tell Grandpa that!!) Nevertheless, I will still celebrate St. Patrick's Day as a very special and important holiday for the rest of my life, in honor of Grandpa Bill.
Alex, when you get older, I hope you take some of the advice that my grandpa gave me when he wrote me this letter:

"Dear Cori,
How ya doing? I guess you are in camp right now. Sure hope you didn't run into any bears! Bears are ugly and stink and bite! I DO NOT like bears! Besides that I hope you had a good time. I never went to any camps when I was a kid. My grandpa and grandma and mom and dad used to rent a cottage each summer at a lake, and we'd go there for a week or two- that was fun. Then when I was about 10, my Aunt Pat and Uncle Harry bought a cottage on Little Muskego lake which is about 15 miles southwest of Milwaukee. I spent a lot of time out there. I would go fishing and swimming and exploring on the islands on the lake. It was cool! Then when I got older I would take my girlfriends out to the lake, and we had lots of parties, with music and dancing- then we would march down to the pier, and push each other in the water! It was a ball! I could tell you some really cool fun stories about that lake, but I'll save them for another time.
Your very welcome for the cards and gift certificates for McDonalds. Now, myself I don't care much for McDonalds, when I eat a burger there, I somehow get the feeling that its been chewed once before! Yuk... Eating at home is the best! Grandma is a very good cook, and I really enjoy the food she serves.
It has been pretty cold here again, I think it went down to zero last night. I went ice fishing the other day (didn't catch anything), the ice is still 2 feet thick! I don't know- ice fishing is really neato! It is so cold, and yet its peaceful and tranquil out on the ice- and the stark white of the snow and the blue of the sky, and the green pine trees on the shore, are just too beautiful! And quiet- at times it is so quiet, like sound has ceased to exist, and you wonder if you went deaf all of a sudden! I have only caught one fish so far this season, but because of all of the above, it keeps calling me back out on the ice...
Cori, maybe I'm boring you with all this stuff, but, it's often the little things - life's simple pleasures- like that that give a person the most joy in life- I guess you'll learn that as you grow up.
I really enjoy receiving your letters, reading them, and writing you back. Its funny though- it takes about 45 minutes to write 4 pages. I could have spoken all these written words to you in less than 5 minutes.
Now that you are an artist, and author, what about the actress in you? Have you been in any school plays? Or do you just hang around- waiting to be discovered by Hollywood? I was in a couple school plays when I was in high school. I had a few offers from Hollywood, but I had a girlfriend at the time and I didn't want to break her heart by leaving her and going into the movies. So my advice to you is... if you get a movie offer- dump the boyfriend and go for it.
Grandma's youngest daughter is getting married April 13th and I will give the bride away. I will be so handsome that day! I am going to wear the wedding suit that I wore when Grandma and I got married, and I will dance the night away! If you were there, Cori, you would be #1 on my dance card.
Well, that's enough baloney for now. Keep on doing well in school and enjoy it- and have fun.

Alex, you'll have lots of good memories of your family too, and my advice to you is, save your emails (and letters if you get any :-)) so that you can remember things that you wouldn't otherwise remember when you get older. Even though I'm not what you'd call old, I don't have too many specific memories of things that happened when I was younger, just impressions.

I wish I could tell Grandpa the impressions that he left on me, and how much I love him.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful memorial for your grandpa, he would be so proud of you, he IS I am sure!!!!! I have tears in my eyes as I am writing this, I miss him sooooo much. thanks, Cori love, Mom