Memories of Grandpa
My grandpa was a very caring, kind-hearted person who was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. He helped us several times when we didn't know what we could do to get out of a bind. He bought a house for us to live in when we lived in Brainerd, he bought a mobile home for my sister to live in and he gave each of us grandchildren a car. I will never forget his generous heart or his kind blue eyes. I couldn't help but notice that he and my dad shared the same eyes.
Education was extremely important to grandpa. He graduated from high school in 1936. He was very proud of my dad who was the first person in his family to graduate from college.
When I was young he lived in an old farm house outside of Balaton, MN. I seem to remember it being a pea green color, but I'm not completely sure about that. An old school house stood right past their barbed wire fence, last time I drove by I got the impression that the school house was on the brink of collapse. I remember it being rather near to his long time church home of Sillerud Lutheran church. I am sure they may have briefly joined a different church during the few years he and his family lived in Minneapolis, but that's the only church he ever took us to. We drove by it sometimes when we drove from his home in the city to church although there were a couple of different ways to get to church.
While he was extremely generous, he could be a bit judgemental. It seemed difficult for me to truly get to know him, somehow it seemed that he liked to keep us at arm's length.
He often talked about his family and the past, but it was hard to get into who he was or to find out his dreams, hopes, and aspirations. I find this to be extremely sad. I have discovered many things about him since he passed away that I never even knew about when he was alive. It would have been wonderful if I could have asked him about these findings when he was still alive.
We have discovered that he was somewhat of a family historian of his generation. He wrote many articles and information in a variety of sources. I found some of them in my dad's stuff shortly after his passing. It makes me wish and wonder what else I may have discovered if our family had been more open about this stuff. Maybe it just never occured to us to talk about it, but I wish I could have had the time or interest in finding out more when I had the chance.
He liked to take us fishing, sledding, and games with us, mostly cards but we played other games too. He introduced me to rummikub, racko, and pachisi. These are games I have also taught to my children. One time I caught a big fish that wasn't even in season. It seemed quite out of character for the man I knew but he dove in after it trying to catch it as it got away.
He lived a very frugal life and was able to save up quite a bit of money for having such limited means. I don't remember if he actually had a working farm when we visited him in my early childhood as I don't recall ever being allowed out in the barns. I know they had animals when my dad was younger since my dad had a blue ribbon lamb and he was in 4 H in the days you had to be a farmer to be in it.
I only knew him as a Raleigh salesman for his profession, his vans always had a large Raleigh sticker on the side of it. He drove a van for many years because he needed a large vehicle to pull his camper for the yearly winter trips down south. When I was older and my grandpa lived in the town of Balaton across the street from his sister Orla I remember walking through his basement several times. It always smelled so wonderful, a mixture of spices and the old musty basement smell. I know it doesn't really sound that appealing, but I enjoyed the smells of his basement. My mom used to laugh about them rinsing out and reusing plastic bags, but I thought it was a great way to help save our environment and money so I do it too.
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