What do you remember of your grand parents?

Aug 5, 2002
Silicon Valley
I think it would be fun to share what do we all remember. I'll start first:

Paternal grandpa: he died when my dad was 7

Paternal grandma: she died when I was 3 so it was only story about how we interact according to my parents. Supposedly she was lovely but she did have her problem like gambling addiction and not getting along with my mom.

Maternal grandpa: he was an art teacher, taught in a boarding school, positive in life, loves children, would try to break apart fight even between kids he doesn't know. He passed away when I was about 8 so only a bit of memory when I visit him during summer babysitting and when he was dying in the hospital from liver cancer / hepatitis. I think he would be the cool grandpa that most people want to have, or maybe it was just the the best in memory from childhood.

Maternal grandma: she was nice to me but not to one of my other cousin. She lived till I was in my 30s then got Alzheimers, and the final years was a bit hard for my uncle to take care of. When she was younger she was a bit more calculating and wasn't always getting along with everyone, but my mom being the bossy big sister would get her to do the right thing eventually (none of my uncle had that authority to her despite only being 1,2,3 years younger than my mom). To be she is like a neighborhood "get off my lawn" + "crazy cat lady" + "only nice to me because I'm her favorite" kind of lady.

I wonder what kind of grandpa would I be like when I'm old.
Sadly I didn't get a lot of time with them.

My dad's dad died when my dad was 22, about eight years before I was born. My maternal grand parents were good people but lived clear across the country in New Brunswick and I only met them maybe eight times in my life.

However my paternal grandmother was the greatest person, she really was, just a triumphant human being. She lived literally across the street until I was about 14. She was an elementary teacher and twice now I have had people who I gave a business card to (somewhat unique last name) ask if she was my grandmother, and mentioned how awesome she was as a teacher and how much she impacted their life. One was recently and he must have been in his late 50's, and she taught grade four, so clearly she was doing something right. She sadly got Dementia around 80 and passed away at 86 on 12/12/12. I miss her every day.
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I only knew one of my grandparents, he was my mother's father. His name was William. He never would tell anyone his exact birthday but I remember we all believed he was born in 1899 in Quitman, Georgia. We did know that he and his family were from Quitman County, which is in southwest Georgia. At some point early in his life his father who was also named William moved the family to Macon, Georgia and his father, my great grandfather went to work in a cotton mill in Macon. They were dirt poor and my grandfather quit school in the third grade to work in the mill with his father to help pay the bills. My grandfather taught himself how to read and write and as I remember it "do ciphers" which were simple arithmetic problems. He loved to read old Louis L'Amour westerns and we went at least once a month to the used/discount book warehouse on the Avenue Of Flags in downtown Macon to get new/used books for him and a Mad Magazine or comic book for me.

Later in his life in the late 1930's my granddad became a Deputy Sheriff in Macon/Bibb County. I grew up hearing from my family how he would go down to where the klan had their stupid pointy head dog and pony show and he would kick their burning cross over, run them all out and tell them to get their butts home or he would haul them all in to jail. And all the pointy heads would clear out right quick too. My granddad was a tough old bird and he didn't take any junk from anybody. He later retired from the Sheriff's Office in the 60's but I remember he took a job as a security guard at night for a construction company. My mother didn't like it much but every so often he would take me to work with him, which I thought was a real hoot, sitting up with him in the guard shack all night at a construction site drinking strong coffee out of his old red plaid Thermos. I could not have been more than 6 or 7 years old then.

I remember my granddad loved me very much and in his eyes I could absolutely do nothing wrong. If my brother and I got in a fight my granddad always broke it up and took my side. He died when I was 10. It took two heart attacks and a stroke to kill him, even though he smoked Tareyton cigarettes like a freight train. I remember going with him to the grocery store in what was probably an early 60's Impala and he had to ask me to look at the PRNDL on the dash, he would say "Is it on the D?" He had cataracts later in his life and had no business driving a car at all but some how we made it home ok each time.

I never met his wife, my grandmother. She died of cancer not long before I was born. Her name was Eva and my granddad talked about her a lot but he never remarried. His youngest son, my uncle Raymond also went to work as a deputy in Macon in 1953. He went to the FBI Academy and became a fingerprint expert, and eventually he was promoted to Chief Deputy and then he was elected Sheriff of Bibb County in 1976. Back then in the 70's the old cotton mill where my grandfather and his father had both worked was still standing but it had been closed a long time. I still remember the bright red bricks it was built from. Our church bus took me and my mother right past it every Sunday. My uncle had the cotton mill torn down and built a new state of the art (for the time anyway) Sheriff's Department and a new jail on the land where the cotton mill had stood. It was the first county jail in the state of Georgia to ever have a library for the inmates to use.

I wish I knew more about my family but I don't. They are all gone now except for a few distant cousins. My dead beat father left me, my brother and my mother when I was just two weeks old, and we all moved in with my grandfather in a big old house that was as old as he was. I know absolutely nothing about my father's side of the family, he is likely dead now anyway. My granddad was a great man, he did everything he could to help take care of me, my brother and my mother. A lot of what makes me who I am came from him.
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I try to remember the good times, before Dementia, Alzheimer's, and Strokes took his 🧠

I remember him picking the family up in the then shiny and new 2006 Camry that I daily to this day

I bought it off him in 2015 after a particularly bad stroke (I've lost count of how many) rendered him best not driving anymore :oops:

He used to pick me up for a Saturday outing, which really was just a bunch of old Romeo's arguing in the OTB about how the Mets were doing 🤣

But hey, if he made out alright we got to go to the diner, and I could get whatever I wanted for breakfast :D

The good old days....:confused:

I should go visit him this weekend, he'd like that

If I don't have to work🤬
Wow, too much to type. I still had all 4 of my grandparents right up to 1999 (I was 24) so I have tons of fond memories growing up with them. I still have one grandfather alive who I desperately need to go visit, but as I'm sidelined with a 'cold' at the moment, it will be at least a few weeks before I get up there.

My mothers father, who we lost in 2003, was primarily responsible for my love of mechanical things and cars. He always had something interesting and could do most of his own mechanical work and was always tinkering around with something. We also spent tons of times in the summers just rolling around through the countryside groundhog hunting, which was a lot more driving around than hunting.

My dad's dad was a carpenter most of his life and had a work ethic second to none. Always building something or working on their property in some way or another. I get a lot of my work ethic from him.

I'm currently tasked with going through 1000's of slides from mom's dad from a lot of their trips out west. They would load up 6 of them in the International Scout and a little tiny RV and spend a month or so going out as far as Washington (We hail from western PA), and there are some really good family pictures in there that I need to digitize.
Well on my dad's side, his dad died many years before me and from what I remember of his mother, she was great but I never saw much of her as her last years were in a home.

On my mothers side, both are now deceased but we spent a lot of time with them and I have very fond memories. Could not have hand picked better people in my life.

Now I am taking an interest in reading the documented family tree and hope to do one of those ancestry DNA tests. Again, I cannot reiterate enough how lucky I am to have not only my parents but those grandparents in my life. Now its about ensuring my kids get that same experience.
My Grandmother was 39 when I was born, and she died at 93. So she was part of my life for quite awhile, but not all of those years because of where she lived (2000 miles away) until I was about 19.

After she died, my Mom gave me some letters I wrote to my Grandma when I was around 7 to 10 years old. She saved them for all those years. Man, that was a flashback, and brought some tears to my eyes and a smile at the same time.
Never met my grandfather on my mom's side. Katie (my mom's mom) was a floosy who got knocked up with my mom by some business owner who already had a wife and kids.
She had her siblings and mother (my great grandmother) raise the child (my mom) and went on to lead a more respectful life by marrying some other dude and had two kids with him. I never liked her and she didn't like me....come to think of it i think she probably resented all the kids from my mom (including her too). My mom always tried to get her mom to accept and love her. But even in my youth I could tell my mom was trying far too hard for her mom's love.
Kate died about 9 or 10 years ago... I just thought to myself "good riddance to you, you old floosy hag!"

My grandmother Sarah, now there was an awesome woman! She absolutely loved my eldest brother and I...the youngest of 4 (the other two, not so much...I don't blame her, I don't care for them either). I recall her sending me homemade cookies on one of my birthdays from literally the other side of the earth. This was the 1980s...things were difficult back then. Sadly she died at 60ish from diabetes. It was more the stressful lifestyle and life in that part of the world. The only time I got to spend with her was 2-3 months one summer back the the mid 80's. Every once in a while I find myself thinking "oh grandma Sarah, I miss you :cry:". To this day I'm always more fond of females with that name...whenever I realize that's their name, i always smile and reply "you know, my grandmother's name was Sarah". Then all the fond memories start flowing back in :sneaky:
My maternal grandmother is still alive. She has some substance addiction problems so I keep some distance. Still love her and have some good memories.

My maternal grandfather I never met. He was a homeless drunk who died of such problems.

My maternal step-grandfather was a great man, died 5 years ago of a lot of health issues. Lots of memories, he is who taught me what I know about cars and home repairs.

My paternal grandfather is still alive, and I live with him as his caretaker. His health and mobility is getting pretty bad, but I cherish every moment, no matter how stubborn he is sometimes lol. Lots of trips out to his gold mine in the desert in my 96' Jeep (was his). Something I'll keep forever and ever.

My paternal grandmother passed away 3 years ago after some difficulties after a bad fall. She was the most incredible person on this planet to me. She was amazing. I can only aspire to be a fraction of the person she was. I still to this day can't talk about her that much, it bothers me for some reason.
They worked hard and saved. When property was for sale in high interest 1980s they had the funds to loan across the kitchen table. Their sacrifices provided a little extra prosperity to their children, grandkids, and beyond.
I was very fortunate to be able to know my two grandmothers and grandfather(on my mom's side) I was in my late teens when they started passing on. My mom's parents came from Europe in the late 20's.They invested in land purchases after they arrived and knew how to save. Both worked well into their retirement years. When my grandfather needed a new car, he saved for it. He would go to the dealership with his cigar box(strong box as he called it) full of cash and paid for the car in full on the spot. It was really cool to find their citizenship papers( their pictures on them were taken when they were in their 20's) and their S.S.cards recently. I will keep those forever.
I knew both sets of grandparents and great grandparents. I got to grow up with my great grandmothers on both my mom and dad's side. My grandmother on my mom's side was with us till I was well into my 30s. She was the one my brother, sister, and I knew the best since she was with us the longest. She was one of my very best friends. I still think about her and miss her every second of every day.

The women always outlive the men in our family.
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My mother's father makes me think of the song "Grandpa was a Carpenter". Later in life he would build and fix anything. I remember once when I was 4 or 5 I went to their house and there was a giant addition out of nowhere. He just decided he wanted a giant kitchen and built it! Then later that summer there was an enormous sunroom/porch thing. Their entire house was a one room school that over the years he just kept building additions onto. He was a chain smoker, too. I remember that. They had foster kids as long as I was alive so I never really got too close with them because there was always a ton going on at their house. Growing up my grandfather was in foster care and felt it was a service he needed to provide back. He died of a heart attack at 69 while helping someone on a farm. That was a rough year for our family. My mother lost her aunt (mother's sister), father and father's brother all two months apart. He died either the day of or before my mother's birthday if I remember right.

My mother's mother loved camping. I remember as a kid we'd all go camping in the big Ram Van she had. Always had to have dodge full size vans. She had many jobs over the years but by the time I was born she already had a bad battle with cancer and wasn't able to do too much. One thing she was always proud of was - it didn't matter what time of the day someone showed up to their house, there would be food and coffee always ready. I remember hearing of the "nifty nine" - in her school there were only 9 people who graduated high school and she was one of them. Unfortunately, she died due to a medical mishap in a hospital. That's another story for another day.

My father was 48 years old when I was born. His father died when he was 24 so that was a few decades before me. I don't know anything about him.

My father's mother knew everyone. Until the Alzheimer's hit, she didn't have a mean bone in her body. I can remember her car got stolen once and she wouldn't press charged because she didn't want to cause any additional problems for the kid who was going through a rough patch. I was her only grand son (my father and I are only children) so I definitely got spoiled. I remember she was a bank teller for 40 years or so and then in retirement worked for the town. My parents moved into her house in 2006 and I can remember walking up to get the mail throughout my college years and people that I did not know would always stop and ask me how she was doing in the nursing home. They knew me, everything about me but I had no clue who they were. He last few years were pretty rough with Alzheimer's and she was a completely different person.
I missed out on a lot of things and regrets. Three of my grandparents died well before I was born but my maternal grandfather lived with us until he passed when I was 13. We shared a bedroom. He was born in the old country and moved to the USA when he was about 29 with his wife, two kids and some other relatives. My mother was born in the USA. I don't recall that my grandfather had an accent and this was confirmed by my older cousin, also his grandson. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me that he had no accent but there you go. Don't know how old he was when he learned English. He could read Hebrew and speak Yiddish. Don't know what other language skills he had. He lived in the Baltic region and left around 1916 due to the unrest in Russia. My family took me to see Fiddler on the Roof and I assume that is what his life was like back in the old country and the reason he immigrated to America but it was never discussed and my questions were met with indifference so I didn't ask many questions about the old country. He was glad to be in the USA.
My paternal grandfather lived across the country for my entire life, and I only met him maybe 4 or 5 times. His older brother lived across the street from me though, and my aunt and uncle were like bonus grandparents to us.

Both my grandmothers were major figures in my life, and one lived until I was about 33 years old, the other just passed 3 years ago, a month before turning 95. I had her around for 47 lucky years.

My maternal grandfather had lots of stories about growing up on the farm, being a glider pilot in WWII, hiking the Appalachian Trail, lliving in New Zealand for a year after he retired. He was a very curious and interesting person. When I was 12, he took me on a week long camping trip in the Adirondack Mtns. It was just the two of us, our tent, and his Adirondack Guide Boat. (That boat is in the photo, I took my boys on a 50 mile paddle trip with it 2 years ago)
My family was a bunch of old Poles' from Rhode Island.

Maternal: My Dziadziu worked for the Providence & Worcester Rail Road for many years. He had his hand caught between two cars before they had auto-couplers and lost two fingers. He went to work the next day. He died in 1970 from an intestinal infection.
My Babcia and I were very close and she stayed with us growing up. She would take our shoes away in summer to save them for school, so we were barefoot all the time (which I still never wear shoes at home! LOL). She passed in '03 at 91 years old after a decade battle with Alzheimer's. Man, that decade was tough on all of us.
The best memories I have are definitely holidays, when everyone would pile into the house, eating Polish food and enjoying each others company.

Paternal: My parents divorced due to my father's issues (now called PTSD), so I was not as close as I was with my Mom's side. We still had some good times though. My Grandparents lived in Central Falls, RI, which can be a rough city. My Father's side are from Wisconsin (I'm a life long Packers fan - It's in my blood!), and when you entered the house, it was like walking into a hunting cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Trophies on the walls, gas stove in the corner and the smell of Polish food, always. My father was a Tool Setter, and my Grandfather a machinist. My Babcia was a homemaker. My Babcia passed in '88 and Dziadziu in '90. My old man passed in 2001 and that was it.

I appreciate how fortunate I was to have a good family and these experiences. They are the values that helped shape me and as such, helped shape my kids. With my daughter getting married and starting her own family, I know the cycle will continue.
I'm really looking forward to being called Dziadziu.
Now thinking back to my wife's side. She comes from a broken family and knew her moms parents as they were still alive and lived close by. Fairly rigid I guess and while close it was not until she was an adult that they really bonded. They were good people but family issues really ruined things. My work would send me near by throughout the years so I would always go visit. By 2009 my grandfather had passed in his early 90s and my grandmother had a stroke and was in full care. So they were now my grandparents.

Her grandfather passed in 2012 so we ensured we spent what time we could visiting or calling her grandmother. She passed away suddenly in early 2020 and that hit us hard. But that's life and they had been happy to meet and spend some time with their great grandchildren.

I remember when her grandfather passed, they lived a simple life but amassed lots of assets on their little farm, whether it was tools or equipment. The "family" pillaged her grandmother and it was a sad state of affairs. Her grandmother kept telling us to come by and take some stuff before it goes missing. Thats not who we are but we got the best stuff: birth certificate, pocket ledgers with notes, pocket watch, photos, his vintage snowmobiles (outlined in olderposts) and things like that.
All good stories here, I'm glad I got to share them along with you guys. One thing I remember deeply about my grandpa as well, he was very good with chess / board game in general and he always win most of the one he plays. The last game I play with him he was already dying of liver cancer. He probably realized it too as his eyes were already all yellow. I won that game because he was already not doing too well health wise, and he told me that I have grown up, I need to start taking care of things in life and I need to take care of people around me who are in need. I cried that day and I still remember to this day.
The only Grandparent I ever knew was my Grandmother on my Moms side. She was amazing. In her life she lived through the Depression and ended up owning two restaurants at different times. She was the Mayor of a small town and the Post Master of another. She hunted and drank and cussed. She out lived three husbands. I will never forget the stories she told me when I was young. She was a great roll model for us all. When She passed it was a huge hit for our Family.
Enough to miss them all...

Mom's parents were born in '08 and '09, he lied about his age to join the Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer just after WWII. He did three war tours in submarines including the one on Parche for which Capt. "Red" Ramage was awarded the Medal of Honor. During that action, Grandpa was loading the forward torpedo tubes and fired one or two. He had a lifelong love of the sea and some of my best memories are of fishing w/ him and my Grandmother and listening to stories from lives that experienced both world wars and the depression. Two that stick out; suicides in the extended family due to the depression (his being in the Navy, they were OK) and my Grandmother, as a child, going to the local park to see the Kaiser burned in effigy. His most critical guidance to me was 'travel...just get out of the (dead mill) city...' His dream was for someone in the family to go to college, that was me and he died a few weeks after seeing me off. Grandma passed away at 99 1/2 years.

Other side were rather distant and colder, not mean or uncaring by any means, just cold and not too tolerant of young children. He was an immigrant from Southern Europe and was a cabinet maker who could do stunning pattern matching and designs with veneers. I remember mixing flakes of shellac with alcohol for him. I frequently kick myself for not learning more from him and my Dad.