One of my dear friends whom I respect like my own father, David Housholder wrote his first novel which is to be published later this summer. I had the wonderful privilege of being able to test read the novel this past fall. One theme of the text that continues to stick with me is how we are the legacy-bearers for our loved ones who have gone before us.
Fast forward a few months. I find myself listening to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Johnny Cash, and June Carter Cash a lot lately. On the surface, this would be no problem as I have very eclectic music tastes. Upon some reflection I came to realize that Miles Davis and John Coltrane were two of my paternal grandfather's favorite musicians and Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash were two of my maternal grandfather's favorite musicians.
This realization has caused me to think about who I am continually bearing the legacy that my grandparents left behind. I am still blessed to have one living grandparent, who just celebrated her 82nd birthday this past January. Although she has had some health struggles, I imagine her living long into her 90's as she is quite a vibrant, diligent woman who still has lots to accomplish.
I was blessed to also have a great-grandmother in addition to my four grandparents. She was the matriarch of the family and was delighted to have two daughters, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She was a devout Lutheran and instilled her beliefs upon her family. Her daughter, my maternal grandmother was also a devout Lutheran and her mother's beliefs were just as important to her and she raised her children in the same faith that she herself was raised in. I too, was raised in this faith and consider the gift that Jesus Christ has given me to be the greatest gift I have ever been given. I think both women would get a good chuckle out of the fact that I am now attending a Lutheran University. My great-aunt gave me my grandmother's Bible a few days after her memorial service. It is such a treasure to me.
My maternal grandmother grew up in San Francisco. She moved away from the city in her 20's/30's but always considered it her hometown. She visited the city at least once a year and her love for the city and her love of the city has been transposed on me. I feel like I am returning home every time I am there. As a teen, I loved going to get coffee with her, going to the movies with her (we saw the Johnny cash biopic Walk the Line together), and just running errands with her. She loved dogs and would have been enamored with my dog Molly. Her greatest joys in life were faith, family, and friends (and of course the San Francisco 49ers).
My maternal grandfather was a true southern boy. He was born in Tennessee and was raised in the south. Later in life he moved his wife and two children to South Carolina for several years. As a child he was merciless in his telling of childhood stories and his love for southern food. Now that he is gone, I can't get enough southern food. I dream of traveling to the south. I savor the time that I spend with his sister in Ohio. He was a salesman and worked for the bank most of his career and could sale you anything from a million dollar home to a discarded orange peel. I'm told that I am just as convincing as he was. My cousin Edwin looks like the spitting image of my grandfather at 29, and the older I get the more I don't mind that I resemble him.
My maternal grandmother is still alive. She makes me laugh often. She is stubborn and headstrong, she loves to shop, she is suzy-homemaker, and she is craftier than anyone I've ever met. She tells me that my cousin Sarah and I are little versions of her and although she doesn't have the faith of my maternal grandmother, she tells me that she prays that I will marry a nice young man who is a Lutheran pastor. Two of my most prized possessions are a locket that belonged to her with a picture of my Dad as a child and a picture of her father in it and a handmade quilt that she made for me with scraps of dresses that she had sewn for me as a child.
My paternal grandfather took up photography as a hobby and second career after he retired from the phone company. He had a studio and dark room built in his backyard. My grandmother was delighted when I started dabbling in photography as a young teen. He loved to get in the car and drive. He would say he was taking the scenic route (which was cue for he didn't know where he was going). He always had new gadgets and would have loved the Iphone (and would laugh at the fact that my grandma doesn't know how to use her Mac). I loved spending time with him and would give anything to go to lunch and wander around Target with him. My Dad resembles him more and more each day.
I thank the Lord for these five people. I hope that someday I'll be able to share my memories of them with my own children and that my own children will love being with their grandparents just as much as I did.
Thanks Hous, for once again making me stop and think.