True Love Stories about my Grandparents
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Poem #382 - Sept 30, 2018 - "The Hope of a Mother
Thank you, Heavenly Stars!
These are true love stories about my grandparents.
I treasure these as examples of the the meaning of true love.
My Paternal Grandparents
My paternal grandparents were married in 1919 when both were in their late 20's.
They were married for 47 years until my Grandmother died. Grandfather lived 19 more years after that.
You can read more about my Grandmother in Grandma Stories.
And you can read more about my Grandfather in Grandpa Stories.
What is so special is how they got married, what happened in the early years of their marriage, and what happened in the later years of their marriage.
Before knowing each other, my grandparents lived in 2 towns about 120 miles away from each other.
120 miles was a long way to travel in those days. But the story goes, my Grandfather traveled all that distance to attend the funeral of one of his relatives.
After the funeral, he went to see his uncles' store, and was surprised to find it open, because it was such a small town, it was a relative of the owners, and many people used to attend funerals just to be good neighbors.
Anyway, for whatever reason, it was open. And there was a clerk named Mary taking care of the store. And he started talking with her, and found they had many similar interests, and they ended up talking 2 or 3 hours.
Grandfather asked if they could stay in touch, to get to know each other better, and Grandmother agreed.
Grandfather had to get back to the farm, to take care of and support his widowed mother and younger brother and sisters, which is explained in Grandpa Stories.
My Grandfather was in his late 20's. Grandmother was a year older. They wrote each other, and decided to get married. My Grandfather asked my Grandmother's father, who lived in a third town between the two, for permission to marry her, which he granted.
They had to postpone the marriage several times to arrange people to come. Besides, my Grandfather had to work the farm to support his widow mother and 5 younger siblings. He lived quite a distance from my Grandmother.
Remember, this is over 90 years ago, ao they didn't have the nice roads as we have today.
Sick with Influenza
Grandfather went to my Grandmother's parents' town to get the marriage license. It was a sunny day. But the wind was blowing chilly, and he caught the flu.
Not just any flu. One of the worst flu's in history. It was the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, in which 20-50 million people died around the world. Some current estimates are as high as 100 million people. Most authorities agree it was the deadliest plague in history. In the United States, 1/4 the population got sick, and over 1/2 million died.
It was a flu that could put you flat on your back for at least 2 weeks with 102 degree fever, headaches, and all the other bad stuff.
Poor Grandfather. He had to stay at in the 2nd story of his cousin's house, far from his farm and family. His cousin John took care of him.
An Unusual Wedding
Now it was right before Lent, and in their tradition, you weren't supposed to get married from Ash Wednesday until Easter. They didn't want to postpone it any further, since their cousin, who was a pastor, happened to be in town and they wanted him to officiate at the ceremony. And one of Grandmother's sisters was moving very soon to live somewhere else.
So my Grandfather and my Grandmother got married in a 2nd story bedroom. Grandfather sat up in bed long enough for the brief wedding.
Grandmother spent the first days of her marriage nursing Grandfather back to health.
And fortunately, Grandfather got better. Else I wouldn't be around here to tell you the story, now, would I?
Later on, they arranged to have the full ceremony with the special marriage blessing at the church, and had a better opportunity to celebrate their wedding with friends and family.
"... In Sickness and in Health"
My Grandparents moved to my Grandfather's farm for a few years, and that's where they started their family.
Then, as I tell in Grandpa Stories, Grandfather got tuberculosis 4 years after they were married.
He went to a sanitarium. Thanks to a doctor who was ahead of his time in treating illnesses, he survived.
Grandfather wasn't able to work when he was so sick. I'm sure the whole family prayed a lot, and made a lot of sacrifices, and did their best to earn a little money. I do know that they kept mending their clothes and used hand-me-downs and did everything they could to make things stretch.
Grandfather was able to come home. He couldn't touch anyone or shake anyone's hands, and no kissing or hugging. One of my aunts tells how they had to put the water on the wood cook stove before supper, to be able to wash the dishes in boiling water. And then they had to be rinsed in boiling water. One time, one of her sisters had all the supper dishes on a tray and she dropped them. Every last one of the dishes broke.
Grandfather followed a very strict regimen of diet and exercise. The minute he felt the least fatigued, he had to lay down.
Grandmother took very good care of him. And besides, she had to take care of the young children pretty much all by herself.
7 years later, Grandfather got tuberculosis again. Again, Grandmother took good care of Grandfather. He recovered, but it left him with 1/4 of one lung, and 1/3 of the other lung. It affected him for the rest of his life.
He developed new skills so he was able to do certain types of work. For example, he was a county assessor for years. He would actually go out to the farms to do the assessments. And even at a much older age, he caned chairs. That means he repaired and replaced the old canes, which is the weaving you see in some older chairs.
The Great Depression
Wouldn't you know it, at the time that my Grandfather was going through his second bout with tuberculosis, was the time when the country was going through the Great Depression.
When I was double checking the facts of these stories among family and relatives, I called my aunt on the phone. She is 90 years old. When I mentioned the Depression, she said, "It was very rough. It was very rough."
In Grandma Stories, I tell how the family bought groceries in the Great Depression by selling produce from their garden, especially black raspberries.
People came from as far as 30 or 40 miles away to buy those black raspberries.
One time I asked my own father, if people didn't have that much money, why would they buy something like black raspberries?
My Dad told me, that people still had special occasions, like birthdays and wedding and anniversaries, so they would celebrate with treats. They would make jams and jellies, and black raspberries made a very good topping for a cake.
Long Term Care
My Grandmother and Grandfather had 6 children in 15 years. My father was the youngest, and the last to leave the nest.
Even before he left, he remembered my Grandmother needing to go lay down during the day because she wasn't feeling well..
Grandmother got sicker and sicker. She went to the hospital at different times. She had crippling arthritis for many long years. She ended up in a wheelchair for the last 18 years of her life.
My Dad says "Their roles were reversed." Grandmother had helped Grandfather when they first got married, and now Grandfather helped Grandmother. It's not easy taking care of someone who needs so much help getting in and out of a wheelchair, in and out of bed, doing all the cooking, dishes, and laundry, and other things we take for granted.
Eventually they got a lift to help Grandmother from her wheelchair into her bed. Some people came over to help once in a while, and relatives when they visited. Still, it was a lot of work for Grandfather. Remember, he was getting older too.
"... Until Death Do Us Part"
Grandma and Grandpa helped each other through thick and thin. They kept their marriage promise, their marriage vows, "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."
That is why, for me, this is one of the most beautiful love stories in our family.
They are a shining example to all of us. They are such a blessing.
Up in the Stars and Beyond
I hope that in Heaven, Grandma and Grandpa look back to every moment of their lives, and praise God for His Goodness.
That they can say all the trouble they went through was so much worth it, for all the joy and happiness they enjoy, and will be enjoying, for all eternity.
I picture God saying to both of them, "Well done, my good and faithful friends."
I am so grateful to you, Grandma and Grandpa. I am so blessed to have you and these precious memories of you.
I've felt your presence in a special way as I've written these few things I know about you.
May this True Love Story Go on Forever
As I finished writing this beautiful love story of my Grandma and Grandpa, I continued writing and realized I had started a poem. It's a good way, when our grandparents leave us and leave this earth, to say Good-bye.
But it's not forever. While we miss them, we hope to see them in due time.
Their love doesn't stop now, but will go on and on forever !!!
Many blessings, Grandma and Grandpa! We'll be seeing you in Heaven! We will see your love blossom and bear fruit and pour out and run over and never stop and go on abundantly -- forever !
Here's the poem I wrote for this occasion:
Go to Grandparents Day Poems.
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Poem In Loving Memory of My Grandparents
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