Posts Tagged ‘greatest generation’

My grandparents will celebrate anniversary #70 this week.  That’s seven followed by a zero. Spelled seventy.  Impressive, hmmm?

I was privileged to live near them for several years in my adulthood and got to observe a few things about them that, as a child, I did not notice.  For example, Grandma could be very stubborn and sometimes passive aggressive. Grandpa didn’t cook. I don’t think he even mastered the bowl of oatmeal that he had every single morning until the instant came along.  Grandma told me once that when they had company, she often felt a little resentful that she was in the kitchen cleaning things up while others visited. So, there were things that provoked them both.

That’s the short list; here’s the long. Grandpa is a gentlemen. The old school style. Women are ladies and he treats them like a gentleman treats a lady.  He opens doors and speaks respectfully and carries all of the suitcases and drives across town and always wants to pay for your meal. That’s how he treats all the ladies, so he treats Grandma very well.  I have never heard him speak disrespectfully to her or about her. He loved to talk about how he wanted to marry her the first time he saw her when they were teens, and about how she sometimes rode her bicycle to the construction site where he was working, greatly distracting his attention.  He also loved to tell about their engagement and the circumstances of their wedding  just as the United States got involved in WWII.

Grandma knows all of their stories.  She also knows all of Grandpa’s jokes and military stories because she’s heard them all. Multiple times. And yet every time he tells one, she watches him, listens attentively, and does her best to help with a name or place if he asks.  She is proud of the way he looks, especially his flat stomach and upright carriage, and she will tell you that while she pats his stomach approvingly.  She has trouble walking now, and holds Grandpa’s arm for support wherever they go.

They always give each other cards for their anniversaries. And they would usually show them to me when I stopped by the house.  “Did you see the card that Grandpa gave me?” Grandma asked on one of these occasions. I read it and teased her a little. “I guess everyone knows,” I said. “It’s no secret any more that you love each other.”  “Yes,” said Grandma. “I don’t know why he loves me, but he does.”

Their solid commitment has seen them through parenting four children, multiple military separations, health difficulties, and the hard times everyone experiences.  I would say that their marriage was stabilized by their personal commitment to each other, their marriage and family, and by their Christian faith.

One tangible result of their commitment is family stability for two more generations. The stability of their marriage, and that of my parents and other grandparents, inspires me to do all I can to continue our family’s great marriage heritage.

More about them tomorrow.


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