I grew up spending many of my childhood weekends at my paternal grandmother’s and grandfather’s home. Gramps, as I called him, was the only grandfather I ever knew. He was a loveable character of Irish descent. One of my fondest memories is Gramps giving me a dollar to spend at the five and dime store every weekend. It was our tradition. Later we would walk to the corner drugstore and he would get a big jelly donut for himself and a milkshake for me. I didn’t realize then that he was a diabetic and this was his way of getting out of the house away from my grandmother’s watchful eyes. My Gram was a very stoic lady. She always wore a lace-up corset, stockings, a freshly ironed dress, and a pair of black low-heeled shoes. The two of them were opposite personalities. Gram was always working, cleaning, cooking, and waiting on Gramps. After my grandfather died, she continued to work hard at various jobs into her 80’s. Eventually she moved to Arizona and lived with my mother and me.

One day many years after my mother and Gram passed away, I rummaged through some of my grandmother’s photobooks and memorabilia. To my surprise, she was a very stylish woman in her early 20’s. She wore blouses, silk trousers and on occasion a fur coat. She was married to my father’s birth father then, who originally came from Germany. There are photos of them riding in shiny new cars and visiting many tourist spots around the United States. They appeared to be a happy couple, laughing, and making silly poses in many of the photos. After deciphering a few faded captions, I learned that he was a silversmith by trade and returned to Germany when my father was seven years old. I also found a poem written by him. It was almost identical to one that I had written when I was a teenager. Both were about a little camp that my family owned on a logging pond in Maine. Both held sentiments about this special place that brought us such peace and serenity. During the summers that I spent on that pond, I was unaware of the poem or that my paternal grandfather had built the cabin. I wish I had known. No one ever talked of him. And yet, now when I read his poem or look at the photo that accompanies it, I feel as if I have always known him.


(A few verses from my Grandfather’s poem written in 1925)

“So quiet, calm, and serene

with the gentle sloping mountains

reflecting their shades of green

Oh, little camp, so quiet and still

if molded into life

You would bid us return and remain with thee

away from worldly strife”


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June 9, 2020

Beautiful poem and wonderful memories. I look back fondly on the times with my grandparents also. I miss them dearly. 

June 9, 2020

@mamaqueenie518 Yes, I loved spending time with them but sure wish I had known more about my Gram’s earlier life. She looked so lively and happy in those photos.  She became a major influence in my life with her words of wisdom and advice.

June 9, 2020

such beautiful memories! thank you for sharing I could almost taste that jelly doughnut too!

June 9, 2020

If you had known. Then maybe this discovery later in life wouldn’t have been so special. I love discovering things like that. Years afterward,  I discovered I had gone to the same college my grandmother went. It gave me a sense of connection. <3

June 9, 2020

@celestialflutter That’s a great discovery. I wish that I had asked more questions of my parents and grandparents… what their lives were like growing up etc.

June 9, 2020

I share a few of those memories…my grandmother’s corset, her busy housework, her clothes.  The five and dime store.  But jaunts were with my dad, her son.  Her husband apparently had abandoned his family when my dad was 14.  That is a lovely verse written by a sensitive man.  What a coincident regarding your writing and his.  Wish you could have known him, too?  I would.  Thanks for sharing.

June 9, 2020

@sago Yes, I do wish I had known him and so much more about my parents and grandparents early lives. My granddaughter has always asked me about family history. I wish I had been more curious when I was younger.

June 9, 2020

@adrift I think everyone has those wishes…my friend and I spoke about this recently.

June 9, 2020

This is a lovely entry. Special memories of family traditions and connectivity.  I love that you wrote an almost identical poem to one your grandfather had written. Did you ever share your poem with your grandmother?

June 9, 2020

@cluinn No, I never shared it. I had no idea that she spent so much time there when she was younger. She never talked about it and she eventually sold it.  Maybe it held painful memories for her… I’ll never know.  After the sale, my dad built her a small cabin deeper in the woods that surrounded the pond.

June 11, 2020

Lovely entry.  You write so beautifully.   Why did your fathers birth father go back to Germany?

So nice looking back on memories of grandparents and time spent with them.   I love remembering special times I had with mine.   There is such a  special relationship between kids and their grandparents.  I saw my parents in a different light both as people and parents when I had my son and see how they interact with them.

June 11, 2020

@fortunes_fool_21  I don’t know why my dad’s birth father went back to Germany. So many questions left unanswered.  But at least I have the poem and photos that were left for me to discover. 😊

June 15, 2020

What a loving evocation of your past seen through your descriptions of your grandparents.  I enjoy these kinds of memory pieces very much.  You write them so well and with such loving attention to little details

June 16, 2020

@oswego Thank you for your kind words. 😊