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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: Valuable Lessons
By Penny Schultz


The trouble with grandparents is, when they are most valuable to you, youíre too young to appreciate them. Each of us is born with two sets of grandparents. The most fortunate of us have the benefit of the wisdom each of them has gained throughout their years. I wasnít one of them.

My grandfathers were both called Roy, men of the land. They knew the feel and smell of fresh plowed soil. They wore it on their clothing. Their faces were browned with hours spent in the afternoon sun. Yet, each came from different worlds; each had different dreams and different disappointments in life.

My fatherís Roy hailed from the blue grass of Kentucky. His people were in tobacco. Heíd been in World War I, proud to serve his country. Heíd met a pretty nurse in Indianapolis and moved her to a small farm in north central Indiana. He spent the rest of his days working 80 acres, taking care of his small family.

His life wasnít entirely happy. My grandma, Nana had been raised in a social atmosphere, but married, she found herself in the middle of nowhere. For reasons hidden within her, she retreated to the happy days of her past. I donít know who she perceived my grandpa to be, but she saw my father as her brother. I remember her only, sitting in a chair watching all that was happening around her. Looking back, I often wonder what was going on in her mind. Who did she think my sister, brother and I were? She was always smiling, seemed happy, but never really there.

My other grandfather, Roy, was no longer farming when I came to know him. He would hire himself out to help on a friendís farm in our small community. He and my grandmother had seven children, two of which had died somehow. Both of their remaining sons served in World War II, one of which became a POW. When my grandmother learned this news, she became completely white headed overnight; at least that is the story that I was told.

I donít know what went on in his mind and heart. He never shared his life with me, not that I recall. Sometimes I think that I would have liked to crawl inside his mind, sift through his memories and find there the wisdom that would help me and my children in the things we face from day to day. His wisdom died with him. Iím sure he had valuable things to share, but the stroke left him unable to speak well until one day, he was gone.

Grandma Ada, his wife, was left alone for around thirty years or more. She also kept her wisdom to herself. I remember her homemade noodles and blueberry pie, but I donít remember her sharing her life with me. She was special. She did many wonderful things for my family, faithfully, without complaint.

I know that there was so much that my grandparents might have taught me, if their circumstances had been different. However, by watching how they lived, and by listening to stories told by my mom and dad, Iíve still gained from their lives.

My grandparents taught me about faithfulness. Jesus teaches that there is no greater love than this; to lay down oneís life for another. My fatherís father didnít physically die for his wife, but he lay down his life every day, putting aside his dreams to work hard day and night to provide a home for her, even though she probably didnít even know who he was. My motherís father probably buried his pain and consequently hiding himself, as well. He may have been faithful, but I didnít get to see it.

My grandmother was also faithful. She was a joyful servant to her family, even though she was alone. I believe that she found strength in the Lord, though she wasnít one to attend a church. Where else can one get that kind of strength?

I am now a grandmother of four. I have three more children to marry, so I will most likely have several more. I want to keep in my heart the value that I have for their lives, looking for every opportunity to share it with them. I pray they learn, faithfulness and service to others by watching how I live.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marita Vandertogt04/11/08
This is rich with characters and memories, and very enjoyable to read. I almost wish it were a novel so the people would have more space to breath and come alive. Nicely done.
Patty Wysong04/12/08
I Love your opening line--it's so true. It seems to me that your grandparent's generation was very stoic, and I've often wondered how much wisdom died with them, but you're right, their very lives spoke.
Joshua Janoski04/13/08
I am glad that you are teaching your grandchildren valuable lessons now that maybe you missed out on as a child.

Thank you for giving us some insight into your family. :)