Thursday, July 31, 2014
Grandma and Grandpa Johnson......how much I don't know
I don't know when this picture of my grandparents was taken, but I can be sure it was before 1946. My grandfather died in 1946. Since I wasn't born until 1954, obviously, I never knew him. My grandmother died in 1958 when I was 3 1/2 years old. I have two memories of her. First, she had a candy jar that was always filled with candy, and she would always give me candy! She also had cats and they usually had kittens. And she would always let me hold the kittens. So anything that I know about my grandparents beyond these two silly things, I learned from other people. I sure wish that I had something written by them.
This is what I heard from my mother about her father-in-law (my grandfather). He didn't speak any English. Apparently, although he had been in the country since the late 1880's, he never learned to speak English. (And I have a problem with some people who don't speak English today? I guess things never change). He also only read the "Swedish Newspaper" whatever that was. He thought farming was the only "valuable" career. Apparently he did NOT like my mother because she couldn't speak Swedish OR Norwegian OR German (her heritage). He thought it was terrible that she only knew English. And he did NOT approve of my father serving in the Navy during WWII. I remember being told that he had decided to come to America to avoid being drafted into the Swedish army during a conflict with Norway. He couldn't believe that HIS son would be DRAFTED in the United States! My mother also told me that she believed that he stayed alive until my dad got home after WWII, even though he was so sick. I actually less about my grandmother. I do know that DID speak English, although not well. She liked to listen to the radio, especially some program in the early 50's about Swedish people. She had one sister that lived in Nebraska. And she had other relatives in Sweden that she wrote to. Okay, that's about all I can come up with about her. Isn't that sad? My sister Karen spent a far amount of time with her. I wish I had asked her more about my grandparents. Sadly, she is also dead.
I think that is one reason that I am so intent on sharing stories and spending time with my grandchildren. I "get it" when it comes to the importance of keeping these memories and sharing them with others. So, I have some cousins that are reading this who might be able to share a few more facts with me!
Tonight I am thankful to really get to know my grandchildren. I am also thankful that my children got to know their grandparents (although Doug doesn't remember my dad who died when he was 3). And I am thankful that Gwen and Tim took their kids to visit with their great grandpa.
Jesus, thank you for extended family. Thank you for reminding me to appreciate exactly what I have. Holy Spirit, help us all to stop and be thankful for our families. Help us to put aside any thing that might be keeping us from celebrating and being close with our family. Jesus, your love is amazing! Thank you for loving us so much. Amen