Sunday, October 26, 2008

One of the Good Guys

Grandpa with my dad.

Hi Kids. Well, you may have noticed that I kind of went missing for a couple of weeks. It's been pretty eventful -- in both a good way (which I'll speak of in future posts) and a sad way.


I mentioned in my post from earlier in the month that my parents and a couple of siblings were coming down to visit for William's birthday. Well, on Saturday, Oct 11th, the day that they flew down, an unexpected event happened. My grandfather passed away early that morning.

This was kind of strange situation. My grandparents actually happened to be in town when it happened -- not in UT, where they live. My grandma was down here on business and didn't want to leave Grandpa home alone as she was going to be away for a couple of weeks.

Grandpa with my dad.

So, as planned, my family flew down later that day. My dad was able to get together with one of his brothers, and later his mother, to figure out the situation and decide what was going to be done.

It actually ended up being kind of neat that Grandpa passed away here in Southern California; he had lived and worked here for most of his adult life and knew and had the respect of many people in the area. A memorial was held a few days after he passed away so that people who knew and loved him were able to pay their respects to my grandmother and to share some memories of him. It was very nice and unexpected, though not surprising, that so many people showed up -- even though he hadn't lived here for many years.

My favorite story told at the memorial was something my mom shared. When my parents were first married they were young and poor. My grandpa would send them letters often, written on United Airlines stationary during his lunch break. He would include a five dollar bill with a note that the money was for my mom, because a girl should have money to spend.

I never knew that story before that night, but it really encompasses what Grandpa was about. He was the most generous and giving person I've ever met. He loved helping and serving others. At his memorial and his funeral the following week, I heard countless stories of how he had helped others and influenced everyone around him for the better. He really was a gentleman and one of the few really good men.

My grandparents with me as a baby.

A few things I remember about Grandpa

*He always had a crisp dollar bill for each of his grand kids every time we saw him.
*He built an incredible log cabin in his back yard, with his own two hands. It was beautiful -- I'll never forget the smell of that cabin while spending the night in it or the sound and feel of the wood door opening.
*He also built a koi pond with a water wheel in the back yard. I thought that koi pond was amazing and one of my favorite memories is of feeding those fish with him.
*Grandpa always wore these cool wool driving caps -- I can hardly picture him now without one of them.
*He always spoke gently and kindly.
*I loved listening to him tell stories about how things were when he was growing up.
*I loved his quiet laugh and his sweet smile.
*He had a great sense of humor -- but you had to be paying attention to catch his subtle little jokes and teasing.
*Every winter he would carefully package up a box of oranges from his orange tress and ship them to us in Utah. That was one of the highlights of the winter for me -- getting those delicious fruits in the dead of winter!
*He always had Sour Cream & Onion potato chips and Brown Sugar & Cinnamon PopTarts on hand.
*He taught me how to cook tuna fish casserole one summer that I spent with my grandparents when I was 9 years old.
*He was a masterful woodworker and it was always fun to watch him work in his wood shop.

William with his Great-Grandpa and Mommy.

I could go on and on. He was truly a sweet man. He will be so missed. I'm very glad that he and William were able to spend a bit of time together and that we were able to get photos of them together. I will speak of him often to William and hope that he will follow in his great-grandfather's footsteps of being giving of himself, being willing to help those in need and of speaking kindly, always.

John & I with Grandpa during Christmas 2004.

I love you, Grandpa.


Despite the sad beginning to my family's visit here, we had a really fun time with William's birthday party, Disneyland and just hanging out. I flew back to Utah with everyone on Friday to spend a week with the rest of my family and to attend the funeral. It turned out to be a really nice, special time. More of all of that to come...


pollywallydoodle said...

here's my Grandpa Weller story--where Marinda was born we saw your grandparents soon after, well Gene just loved my girls and thought they were so cute but he especially liked Marinda. She reminded him of a poem he had so he went home and printed up this poem on card stock and sent it to me fed-ex!! "Day old Child" is the poem and from then on I loved seeing him!! He was a sweetie.

Kaja said...

I'm sorry to hear of your grandpa's passing. He sounded like a wonderful man! It was good your family was together though - what a blessing!

Morgan Jane said...

This was such a sweet post, Cara. It's so fun to hear the stories of your Grandpa and how loved he was by so many people. I'm glad you have so many memories of him, and am also glad Will was able to meet him.

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry about your grandpa, Cara. It's neat you have so many good stories and pictures of him and especially that you got some of him with Will.

Adventures in Heywood said...

That last picture of you is GORGEOUS, it's amazing.

redhed said...

ahh.. your posts made me cry Cara..I remember him always being super kind too. he used to always give Aurora a dollar when we were always hanging touched me. love the pictures

kelly said...

Cara, this is a really sweet post about your Grandpa. I feel like I know him...I wish I did. He sounds like an amazing person. The pictures you posted are perfect. Thanks for sharing your memories.

I can't wait to hear about the rest of your busy weeks!

Miss you!