Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grandparent Memories on National Grandparents Day

I was lucky enough to have one set of grandparents who were everything you think of when you consider the perfect grandparents. That isn't to say that my other grandparents wouldn't have been like that under different circumstances. They just didn't have the opportunity.

Verda and Will McCauley, abt. 1940
My father was the ninth of eleven children so his parents were much older than my mother's parents. I never knew Daddy's mother. She died when he was not quite 16 years old. His father died when I was seven. I remember Papa but not very well. You can make the trip from our house to his in under four hours today but back then it was a much longer drive so we only saw him a couple of times a year. I remember him visiting us once but the memories are faint. Sadly, I remember his funeral much better than I remember him.

Elmer and Emma Hopkins, 1976
If one set of grandparents can make up for not really having the other set, Mamaw and Papaw certainly did that. Papaw retired when I was eight years old. Almost every Monday after that, they made the 100-mile drive from Loyall, Kentucky to our house in Mt. Vernon.

In the summer, my brother, sister and I couldn't wait for them to arrive. During the school year, we knew that when we stepped off the school bus on Monday afternoon, they would be there. They'd spend the night and return home the next day. By the time my youngest sister was born six years later, this was the established weekly routine. We visited them often but not nearly as much as Mamaw thought we should. She really wanted us to come every weekend (even though they were coming back to our house on Monday).

They were always there for every event in our lives. I can remember one time that we sorta wished they weren't around. Disney World opened when my youngest sister was five years old and my parents thought we should go. The older three of us really had no interest in it so they agreed to let us stay home. At 20, 18 and 17 years old, we were happy to be on our own for a few days with our parents three states away. I doubt that they had gotten much past the Kentucky-Tennessee line heading to Florida when Mamaw and Papaw pulled into the driveway. My grandmother thought it was a terrible idea to just go off and leave us. Whatever plans we had for the week went down the drain but we ate well while our parents were gone.

They were the best.

5 comments:

  1. It is amazing to hear that Mamaw and Papaw made a 100-mile drive once a week! How fortunate you are to have had one attentive pair of grandparents, even if the other pair couldn't be. And they were there until you were teenagers -- this is a happy story. I like the way you end it with a funny anecdote. These days so many more kids know their grandparents than happened when I was young. My only one, grandfather, passed when I was six. Thanks for this post!

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    1. Thanks, Mariann. I was 26 when she died and 28 when he died. They were still making that drive about every week when she died. I was working and gone from home by then but lived along their route. They always stopped by the office to see me for a few minutes on their way back home.

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  2. Linda, the story about being left alone and then having your grandparents show up makes me laugh. I'm sure you and your siblings were going to be good.... I think it's amazing that your grandparents traveled 2 (or more) hours and spent one night a week at your home. Did they have their own bedroom and beds? We visit our daughters in Kentucky and come home so very tired. What good memories you have of them.

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    1. Nancy, It wasn't a very easy drive - we are talking about the mountains of eastern Kentucky - but I didn't really think about it as amazing at the time. They did have a bed.

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  3. How funny that they were concerned about you and scuppered your plans for the weekend! It's lovely that they spent so much time with their grandchildren :-)

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