Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lynn & Reta

To me, those names are as inseparable as the people themselves. Grandma and grandpa Stewart are both in their 90s and have been married for over 75 years. I've been thinking about them a lot lately. They seem to be getting shorter, but they keep growing in my estimation. Grandpa was a baseball player, a farmer and a school bus driver. Grandma cooked lunch at the junior high, raised six good kids, played the organ at church, and bowled like a champ (200+) with her friends.

So many memories. I remember:

--Helping grandpa mow their big lawn, then sitting on the patio chairs and talking while drinking Shasta and eating homemade cookies.

--Going shopping and out to eat with grandma and grandpa for every birthday until I left home. My favorite was eating fish and chips at the Tiffin Room after shopping in the Ogden City Mall (none of which exists now).

--Sleeping in the back room when grandma and grandpa tended me while mom and dad were out of town. Grandma usually woke me up with a warm breakfast that I ate on a TV tray, and then we would move out to the patio to play darts.

--Going to see “The Karate Kid (I)” in the theaters, then going out to lunch at Burger King when grandma and grandpa were babysitting me. This represented two firsts for me – the first time I saw a movie in a theater, and the first time I ate a Whopper.

--Spending time with grandpa in his big garage, usually fixing his old Chevy or working oil into my baseball mit.

--Spending foggy Christmas Eve nights eating the best Christmas dinner on earth, opening presents, then sitting next to the hallway heater with my new pajamas, book, toy, etc.

--Listening to stories about baking bread for the neighboring Indians, buying the first TV in town (Warren, UT), the wars, the Depression, the vacations, etc.

--Seeing grandma and grandpa in the crowd at all of my baseball games and piano/trumpet/vocal recitals.

--Ceremoniously honking the horn as we ended a visit, then watching out the back window as the cutest grandparents in the world waived goodbye from the driveway.

--The immaculate home and yard...

Grandpa Stewart was a worker. He started at 3:00 in the morning and worked until Jeopardy came on (he nailed almost every question). Grandpa spent a lot of time with his tools...

...and his work boots.

He also had a knack for fishing (a gene that wasn't passed on).

Oh, and he read a few books each week.

In addition to everything else she did, grandma maintained detailed scrapbooks of all of their travels, and for all of her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. Priceless.

And finally, as evidence that my grandparents are the coolest ever, I submit for the record photographic evidence that my grandparents visited every state (including North Dakota!) and the District of Columbia, and collected a souvenir bell from each.

Lynn and Reta Stewart are amazing people. They accomplished much but sought little. Out of nothing they built lives and created opportunities for their children and posterity. A great portion of what I have received and experienced in my life is a direct result of the love and tireless efforts of my grandparents. When I was about eight or nine, grandma and grandpa gave me a picture of themselves in front of the White House, and every time I looked at that photo I hoped that someday I could go to Washington like my grandparents. I think of that every day as I ride my bike past the White House on my way to work. I feel like I carry them with me through a thousand traits, characteristics, memories, hopes, dreams, and debts of gratitude.

Grandma and grandpa loved us unconditionally. I love you, grandma and grandpa!


Holly said...

Seriously - this is the first day this week that I did my makeup, and now I've cried it all off. I'm so glad that you did this post. Grandma and Grandpa are amazing examples. I love the pics of all their stuff - you're so good to think about taking those pictures and capturing those moments/memories for all of us.

Jay & Pat said...

Thanks, Jer, for sharing such an amazing blog. I will make sure they get to see it. It will mean the world to them.

Daisy Chick said...

I enjoyed reading about your grandparents. They seem like amazing people. Amazing how our grandparents can influence us so greatly. Thank you for sharing your memories.