A recent ad in the local paper about the upcoming Grandparents Day, stirred a fond memory for me.   Growing up, I was most fortunate to have all four of my original grandparents all the way into adulthood.  And  have wonderful memories of them, collectively and individually.  It saddens me that many children today are not so lucky.

I actually lived with my maternal grandparents for about two years when my parents moved from West Virginia to Washington, D. C. during the early years of World War II.  My dad   was fortunate enough to get a Civil Service Job, but family housing in Washington was scarce.  My grandmother and I traveled to Washington by train from Pittsburg to visit a couple of times a year.  What an experience that was!  My grandparents lived in a small pottery town on the Ohio River.  Their house was at the top of a hill overlooking the river and the B&O Railroad track, so I could spend hours  on the front porch or at my bedroom window watching the trains and steam boats going back and forth.  Almost everything I know about cooking and cleaning, gardening  and,  sewing, I learned from my Grandmother.    Grandpa built  wood and rope swing in the huge cherry   tree n the back yard.  If I could get the swing going high enough, I could pull bright red cherries off and eat them. discipline and good manners from my Grandfather, who also liked to recite poetry and stories to me.  I was able to rejoin my parents by the time I started school, but spent every summer until high school with my Grandparents.  Those years are a treasure in my book of memories.

My paternal grandparents were more nomadic and I rarely spent an overnight with them.    Although they considered West Virginia and Pennsylvania their home, they moved twice to California because two of their sons lived there.  But they visited at our home frequently and my memories of them are just as precious.  They shared stories and photos of their travels across the U. S. and brought gifts from exotic places like Mexico.   Because they seldom had a permanent household, my Grandmother gave me odds and ends from her home.   For instance, a framed picture that was a wedding present from my grandfather, and an antique “chocolate” set  she had purchased for her  mother with her first wages at age 13.  From time to time she gave me pieces of jewelry which I still enjoy.  Grandma also taught me to crochet.  Grandpa was a railroad buff and loved to sing railroad ballads, and could recite the poem “The Merimac and the Monitor”, about the Civil War iron clad battle ships, along with her historic poems.  Although he only had a 3rd grade education, my grandfather was very concerned about his children and grandchildren being properly educated and always wanted a complete up-date on what we were doing in school.  Because my dad graduated during the Depression  and they could not afford a school class ring, my grandfather insisted on buying my class ring and started inquiring about it when I entered high school.  He also insisted on buying my wedding china.  Because he had been a potter, he made sure I picked a pattern that could be purchased from a certain pottery in Japan, and he inspected each piece when it arrived.  Sadly, my grandfather died one month before my wedding.   I have such fond memories and thoughts of him every time I set a formal dinner table.

There have been many changes since I was a child.  Young adults are marrying and starting families later in life, so the grandparent  population is older.    Also, many grandmothers work outside the home and are not available for rearing young children. Then there are the “blended” families with multiple sets of grandparents.

Parents should encourage their children to bond with their  grandparent, and grandparents, I would encourage you to tell “your story”  The children will love the stories and that will be a memory that will live  with them forever.  GRANDPARENS ARE VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE –  So are Grandchildren