My Great-grandparents Should Have Been Characters in a Novel
Because a reality show would have been entertaining but not profound enough @schaeffer
- •My great-grandma"Nonnie." Feisty, quick-witted, ballsy. Loved her family and friends fiercely. Full of laughter.
- •My great-grandpa"Siggie." Named this by my mom as a little girl because he smoked big cigars. Kind, generous, funny. A WW2 vet covered in tattoos from his time in the Navy. The best storyteller I've ever known. Full of mischief but warm and caring. If you were a lady he referred to you as "baby" in the most endearing way. If you were a man he referred to you as "you old bastard" in the most endearing way.
- •My favorite Siggie storyThe morning after V-E Day, Siggie wakes up confused in jail (his ship had been docked in America at the time of the announcement). The amused police officers tell him they picked him and a Navy buddy up the night before. They'd found Siggie standing in a trash can and his buddy pushing him down the road, drunkenly shouting and celebrating the Allied victory. Of course everyone is promptly released with a handshake.
- •Their farmAt the end of a gravel road in Missouri. A little house they'd built themselves with a man cave and bar in the basement. A garden for themselves and farm land all around. A pond full of catfish. Perfectly quiet and dark at night. Full of pictures of their family and still decorated with the original furniture they'd bought in the 70s.
- •They worked hardSiggie worked long hours at a Ford factory. Nonnie cared for the house and tended the garden where they grew most of their food.
- •They played harderOn the weekends, their house was full of friends and family. During the day the men would fish in the pond out back. They'd fry up the fish for dinner while the ladies prepared fresh vegetables from the garden. They'd play music and drink beer and tell stories all evening, go home to sleep, and then everyone would come back over the next morning to repeat. Children were always welcome.
- •They lived for familyThey worked hard and saved every penny to provide a better life and a legacy for their children. Their house was paradise for grandkids and great-grandkids, where during the day we'd run and fish and play and get dirty, and at night Siggie and his friends would take us out on the tractors to "catch frogs."
- •They were the embodiment of the idyllic American Dream of the midcenturyWork, home, family, friends. A simple life that they built with their own hands, investing in people rather than things.
- •They each died on March 21Nonnie in 2000. Siggie in 2011. Exactly 11 years apart.
- •An article written about Siggie after his deathhttp://stephanistevens.blogspot.com/2011/05/hula-dance.html?m=1 I reposted this on my (short-lived) blog so I wouldn't lose it.
- •Knowing them was one of the greatest blessings of my life