I think the thing that was the most interesting for me about this trip and the memorial was realizing how little I knew about Grandpap. So much of his personal history was unknown to me, but even more upsetting is how much of his personality was a mystery to me. I suppose such a thing was to be expected-when I was born, he had just turned 67. I grew up in California, and I didn’t see him that frequently. As I child, I knew him to be quiet, yet kind. Still, I couldn’t help but be intimidated by him. When I did see him, I never thought I had much to say that would interest him, and never could quite figure out how to talk to him. Our whole dynamic makes me so sad for what I missed out on, and I have to be honest-it scares me since I don’t want that situation repeating for Laura and her grandparents.
We live far away from both sets of Laura's grandparents, and I want her to be close to them, to be able to talk to them on the phone if she wants. I want her to feel like she knows them. I have heard so many wonderful things about Grandpap from my Dad, and I heard so many more interesting things at the memorial. I’m so happy I was able to attend and to celebrate his life and his family. And I’m grateful for the wake-up call, that NOW is the time to get to know our family members. I got to talk quite a bit to some of my cousins, and surprise, surprise, they are all really interesting and fun people! I suppose that is why memorials and funerals are so bittersweet. They remind us, all too clearly, of what has been taken from us, yet seem to nudge us even closer to our loved ones.
It was a great memorial, and a wonderful trip. I was so sad my Mom couldn’t come. We all missed her, and my two brothers, and my two cousins who couldn't come. The day after the memorial we did a little bit of sightseeing in Pittsburgh, one of my favorite cities. I have some pictures to share, and except for the picture of Pittsburgh, they were all taken by my sister Marla. She has a much nicer camera than me, and is also a lot more skilled than me when it comes to taking pictures.
I also want to recommend this post written by Citizen Grouch (aka my Dad) which is his very moving tribute to his father. He read it at the memorial and had me in tears, and it will give you a glimpse into my Grandpap’s life.
Me at lunch after the memorialOur table, with Dad, Aunt Louise, and JuliannaMe with my Godmother, JuliannaLaura, harassing her cousin FisherLaura with Fisher and Sam-they had a blast togetherGroup shot of the family (most of us)Laura and Grandad, at the Soldiers and Sailors MuseumAfter much searching, Dad found the name of his great uncle who had fought in Gettysburg!
Pittsburgh, in all her glory
There were so many more great pictures, but if I add any more it may be the longest blog post ever. And while the writing itself may have been a bit vague, I don't feel like there is much else I can say. Even though we weren't as close as we could have been, I think it's safe to say-I love you Grandpap.