Posts Tagged ‘grandparents’

I’m the one on the OUTSIDE???

July 11, 2011

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I was a fortunate kid who had both sets of grandparents until my teens.  Most of our family vacations (in the station wagon with the 8-track tape of the singing Statesmen) were spent driving to and from one of my grandparents’ homes.  My maternal grandparents lived in White Rock, B.C. a block from the beach and they had a trampoline in the back yard and wild blackberry vines that grew down the hill from their home.  All of those were important items on my list as a kid.  They lived in a four-story yellow house that stood out like Big Bird when we were on the beach looking toward land.  The reason they lived in a four-story, gargantuan home was because my Grandmother took care of 10 women who had special needs, all who lived in the top floors of the canary-colored house. Grandma and Grandpa lived in the lower floor in two cramped bedrooms, a kitchen and livingroom.  I can’t remember where we slept when we stayed there, but I have fond memories of that house.

The Ladies ate at a large diningroom table in a window-laden room facing the ocean on the second floor.  It was a ways from the kitchen, where my grandmother cooked for all 17 of us inhabitants.  We ate at a squishy kitchen table that was at the back of the house in a nook with windows across the far wall.  Our view was the driveway and the neighbor’s fence. The table was formica with a gray and white pattern of triangles, and there were secured benches all the way around the table.  No chairs.  There was no room for chairs.  I felt like a sardine lined up with my siblings and sometimes my cousins. And I loved it.

The day we arrived, Grandma gave each of us a see-through pill bottle with a white snap-on lid with our name written on it in a rainbow-shaped curve. It was for vacation allowance.  Each and every day she handed out a quarter to me and my brother and sister.  The coins fit perfectly in the little bottles. I have always relished things that fit perfectly.  True to form, my brother would save his coins all week so on the last day he could carefully purchase a yo-yo, or a rubber coin purse that squeezed open or a candy bar.  I lavishly spent my quarter every day.  On junk candy.  And I was okay with that. Because the next morning, for at least 20 minutes, there would be another shiny quarter that would fit perfectly into the bottom of my pill bottle that said L-I-N-D-A in the rainbow-shaped curve.

There were “other” cousins that also came to Grandma’s yellow beach house on Buena Vista Drive.  Three girls, close to the same ages as us, but we weren’t “real” cousins.  We spent a Christmas or two together when we were very young, eating at Grandma’s, but we never swapped gifts.  I never gave it much thought but somehow felt sorry for them because they weren’t Grandma’s “real” grandchildren.  I considered them on the outside.

In my 16th year of life, I came to the realization that the Grandmother that I loved, was married to my Grandfather…. after my maternal Grandmother passed away years previously.  She was my STEP-Grandmother.  But how could that be?  She was not like Cinderella’s Step-anything!  She loved us and fed us and gave us vacation allowance.  THEN I realized that I was not a “real” grandchild…. I was on the outside!  The three girls were on the INSIDE! That shocked me for days.  It was my first real-life experience knowing unconditional non-blood related love.  We were family and that was all that mattered. And I loved it.

More tomorrow, on my beloved Grandmother.

Happy New Year Twenty-Ten!

January 4, 2010

We started the New Year with Nikander family pictures with the whole crew.  My sister’s family is only down here in the desert every other Christmas, so we take advantage of every blinkin’ minute.  We’ve done red, white and black…. blue and browns… and this year black, white and hot pink.  We actually had everyone participate with the correct colors this year!  There’s a first time for everything!  We’ve come a long way, baby, because this was the first year we did not have to schedule pictures around naptime!  Whoopie!

I always try to make sure we have pictures of each kid individually with Rick and I as well as their grandparents.  Neither Rick or I have photos like that from our families.  There’s the odd one, but nothing like our kids will have.  We almost succeeded yesterday, but with 17 people wandering around, we did miss a few.  I’m not sure why I think it’s so important to have those mom/kid pictures, but I do love having them down the road at scrapbook time.  Call me a sentimental fool… and I’ll gladly agree.

This one has been my favorite since we started this pose with daddy and daughter about eight years ago.  So cute to see our little girl turn into an amazing woman of God!  We are so blessed.

One more and I’ll be done…..

It seems Rick and I are getting shorter and shorter.  This may be our last New Year picture without a kid taller than us.  Time is sure flying while we are having fun!

Make 2010 a great year!

Happy 50th Anniversary, Dad and Mom! (Wow!)

February 15, 2008

Dad and Mom’s 50th

Please join me in wishing my parents, Ed and Grace, a Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary today!   Wooo hooo!  Yes, they were 13 and 12 when they got married. They are superb parents who have an impressive parenting resume with only a few mishaps, entirely at the fault of my siblings.  I was the child who ran around at 3 years old yelling, “I be good!  I be good!” and haven’t caused a day of heartache since.  :o)  (Fortunately for me, Mom and Dad can’t remember anything different.)

My dad lived up to his nickname, Steady Eddie.  I don’t know if that actually was his nickname, but he did live up to it nonetheless.  He is easy going, level headed, kind hearted, a Mr. Fix-It, has a great dry sense of humor, and cries at long-distant telephone commercials.  He has supplied his three children and their spouses with wisdom and a Godly example that we’ve all depended on.  Plus he’s kept Mom happy for over 50 years.  If that isn’t amazing in this day and age, please tell me what is.

Mom has been the life of the party, whether she wanted to be or not.  She has provided us with laughs and love and learning all the days of our lives.  We have fond memories of her orange, polyester karate outfit, her jazzy piano playing of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and her attempts at beating her children in fierce games of Scrabble.  She knows more two letter Scottish, Burmese and Taiwanese words than Mr. Webster.  She is a talented artist, home decorator and fashion shopping guru.

My siblings and I were truly blessed by being raised by these fine folks.  Thanks, Mom and Dad.

What else happened in 1958, you ask?  Let me expound:

The U.S. Army inducted Elvis Presley, transforming The King Of Rock & Roll into U.S. private #53310761

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act into United States law.

First International House of Pancakes (IHOP) opened in Toluca Lake, Calif.

The U.S. Congress formally created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Instant noodles went on sale for the first time.

The first successful American satellite, Explorer I, was launched into orbit.

Edward Nikander married Gracie Chauncey in a cheery, Valentine-decorated ceremony in Vancouver, BC.  The bride wore an off the shoulder gown with netted layers with v-shaped trim.  The groom sported a trim, white dinner jacket.  The couple honeymooned at the first motel they found that didn’t have weeds.  (If the establishment doesn’t take care of the grounds, imagine what the rooms must look like! ~ Mom’s lesson #47)