Friday, April 8, 2011


Grandpa Warren and his "silly goose"
I was born to my parents a little later in their lives, and by the time I was 5 we had lost two of my grandparents. My mom's dad Warren and my dad's mom Fern both left us between '85 and '88, I think. My mom's mom and dad's dad lived until my middle school and high school years, so I knew them a little better.
Grandma Fern reading to me

I think about them a lot. They were all farmers in rural central Illinois. Corn, beans, horses, cows, pigs, chickens. Hard work, hard lives. My Grandma Gerda, before she married Warren in the early '30s, grew up in a small house on a dairy farm ("Leafy Lane Dairy") with her 10 siblings. My Grandpa Herb was one of nine kids, a Mennonite family. I don't know much about my other two grandparents, Grandma Fern (she went with Herb, naturally), and Grandpa Warren.

I could stare at pictures of them for hours.

Me with Grandma Gerda

Grandma, my brothers, and me

I especially love old photographs of my grandparents.

 Gpa Herb's family; the guy who looks like Harry Potter is Herb

Herb & Fern's engagement photo ca. late 1920's

Gpa Herb. What do they do at retirement homes these days?
Me, my dad, Gpa Herb, brother, early '90s (like my shades?)

Even though I sometimes wish I could have been closer to my grandparents, at times I feel a connection to them that goes beyond head knowledge. There are mysterious things they've passed on to me, deeper than their DNA.

Likes, dislikes, loves, passions, dreams, convictions--I am convinced I've inherited some of these as well. Hard work and simplicity, peace-loving loyalty, a connection to the land, building your life with your own two hands, faith, family, books, creativity. These are the eternal, inherited blessings from my grandparents.


  1. Wow. Love these old pictures. Grandpa is a duplicate of Herb.

  2. This entry brought tears to my eyes. I love these pictures. I never saw the picture of your Gpa Herb with his face painted before. I miss all four terribly. I think about them alot especially my Mom.

  3. There's a huge resemblance between you and your Grandma Fern in her engagement picture. You're a couple of pretty ladies!

  4. Thanks! I thought there was a little resemblance, too, but that's never been noticed before. I'm glad we have pictures to remember our loved ones by and imagine they're still with us in a way.