Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Book of Me - Prompt 7: Grandparents

[Editor's Note: The Book of Me is a series of writing prompts focusing on life streaming or preserving one's own memories rather than those of our ancestors and family members. Click here to read more.]

This week's prompt in The Book of Me is Grandparents. I never knew my four grandparents very well so when I'm asked about my grandparents, I often focus on the great-grandparents who helped raised me: Therese McGinnes Austin and John Ralph Austin.

These two people had such a monumental influence on my life, especially after my parents separated and then divorced in the late 1960s. I remember so much from my weekly visits to their house in Grahamsville, New York:
  • The large Dutch farmhouse built in the 1840s.
  • Grandma's handmade quilts in each bedroom upstairs (there were four large rooms).
  • All the "old stuff" which fascinated me. Stuff like curious, clocks, furniture and more.
  • The lack of television and where conversation was more important than the boob tube.
  • Sunday dinners with the fold out dining table which converted from a simple entry way table to seating 12 people.
  • Learning about family history and all the stories of my ancestors.
My great-grandfather passed away in 1976, less than a year after they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. After that, Grandma spent winters with family either in Florida or California and then spent the summers with us. She passed in 1988 at the age of 94.

I miss them both and think about them often, that is how great their impact has been on my life. While I didn't always agree with them, and I don't always follow their advice, I know they set me on the path to being the best person I could be. 

No greater gift can be given to a descendant.

© 2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee


Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

What a nice tribute to your grandparents. I hope my granddaughters will be able to say that I helped make them a better person, too! I was lucky enough to get to know my grandmothers, though one died when I was eight. Both of my grandfathers died before I was born, and funny as it sounds, I miss them, missed getting to know them! I did get to meet my great-grandfather, who died when I was 2 1/2, but I remember him as being tall, white haired, and stately looking. By all accounts I hear he was a wonderful and kind gentlemen as well.

Sydney Forsythe said...

What wonderful memories you must have! I especially love the photograph. One of the things I hope for is to find photos of my family!!!