Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Stories of grandparents
Papa & Grammie Roelle (Cliff & Betty), my Dad's parents,were around quite a bit when we were kids, until they moved to Florida - sometime around Junior High, I think.
Before Grammie passed from lung cancer, both were heavy smokers. I remember leaning against Grammie once while in the kitchen and burning my hand on her cigarette.
Grammie knew I loved applesauce and always made a big deal about that. Made me like it more, perhaps.
I need to gather more stories about her, I realize now that I don't remember many details. Most of what I remember is of her passing and I'd like to instead remember her life.
Papa flew missions over the Pacific in World War II. He enlisted twice, the first time quite young. If I remember correctly, he was a gunner. When he was young, he looked like a movie star. He talked very little about his youth - but in the one story I remember, he looked out the window to see that the wing of his plane was missing. They went down into the water and were almost taken by a Japanese ship, but Americans came over the horizon just in time.
Here at home, he assembled plane models, did a bunch of woodcraft - making nativities and lights that looked like covered wagons. He collected Hess trucks and loved to fish.
When we were little, Papa had a stroke. He recovered, but often found himself reaching for words and it frustrated him. He talked less after that because he was self-conscious.
After Papa passed, I put together a scrapbook from his photos & papers, and Sonny put together a a display of his medals. I learned more about his childhood and his life before the grandkids came along which was very cool & important.
I miss them both and wish I could have had more time as an adult to spend with them, but I'm also grateful for the bits I have.
Sonny, Danny - chime in in the comments if you want with your memories. I'm going to take some time this summer to sit with Dad and learn more.