Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Time with the G-Parents

This evening I randomly surprised my maternal grandparents at their house after work. This particular set of g-parents were a major part of my childhood, living three miles away from my parents enabled them to assist in watching me after my mom went back to work after maternity leave through the age of about ten.

I enjoyed my time there, sitting at the kitchen table for lunch every day, equipped with my standard grilled cheese or ham sandwich, followed by reading with my grandpa, and a nap. Later in the day I enjoyed a bread and butter snack, or a cookie with Popeye and Muppet Babies. Life was grand. My grandmother doesn't drive, so we took the bus for various activities including Knott's Berry Farm where we watched the cake decorators create, fed the ducks in the pond, or went on walks around the neighborhood, especially after my sister was born in her stroller. When they did their grocery shopping, I always received a pink doughnut on the trip and loved watching the lobster tanks while they picked out produce.

Tonight I stopped by after work as a visit was long overdue. I am realizing time is limited and I know how much it means to them for the visits we share. We enjoyed great conversation discussing my life as a newlywed and them reminiscing about theirs. My grandmother is losing her memory more and more, which is heartbreaking to watch, but their bickering about the order of events is endearing.

At the time they married in 1950, their first apartment's rent was $40 a month. I didn't even dare tell them what we pay. Their first major purchase, much like our own, was a fabulous 16 inch television, a huge upgrade from their best friends' who only had a 12 inch. Having a television itself was a complete novelty. The night of their wedding, which was the 4th of July and fell midweek, they drove from Denver where they both grew up, to California, where they would ultimately settle. Denver, being the mile high city, was one of the last cities to acquire a television signal back then.

My sister and I were very lucky to have grown up with both sets of grandparents, and still enjoy the company of three. Spending quality time with these people is as important for them as it is for us. Time is ticking, and I want to be able to learn the stories they have experienced, such as Pearl Harbor with my grandfather in the Navy and living through the Great Depression. Visiting them shows me what great joy grandchildren bring to their life, as they ask me about my cousins and they marvel at the age span between the oldest, 31 and the youngest who is 6.

Both were so surprised at the box of Sees candy I brought them, one of their favorites. It does not even compare to the sweet treats and sweet memories they have provided me over the years.

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