The Book of Me – Prompt 7 : Grandparents

The prompt for week 7 : Grandparents
What were their names?
Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
Photos
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn’t know them have you researched about them?

(*If you’re new here…you can find out more about The Book of Me prompts here.)

(*This turned out way longer than I thought and it wasn’t as hard as I thought. Just did a little digging in my baby book, which my mother did a good job of filling out.)

(*Out of respect I’ve always called my grandparents…grandma or grandpa followed by their last name. I thought for privacy sake it might be better to just use first names here.)

I’ve never been real close to my grandparents on either side of our family. The main barrier I think has been distance. They lived in Virginia and we moved to North Carolina after our parents divorced. I was going into third grade and my sister was going into kindergarten. Even though we didn’t see our grandparents as much as we would’ve like, we saw them way more than our father, who was in the air force.

My paternal Grandpa Linwood was born in Thaxton, Virgina. I don’t know where my grandmothers on my father’s side were born though. Grandpa married my first grandma, Grandma Betty Jean and I don’t know how long they were together. I was never close to my first grandma and can only remember getting to meet her once as a child. I still remember she had dark hair that fell a little past her shoulders and she was wearing a bright red turtleneck I’ve been told she was an alcoholic, so I guess that’s why there were never close family ties with her.

My Grandpa Linwood remarried with my second grandma, Grandma Jane. She and Grandpa were the two grandparents my sister and I spent the most time with as children. We would always stay with them for several weeks during the summers. Sometimes we’d get to see Grandma Rachel while we were there too. I remember my grandparents ran a thrift store for a time and I’d get to ride around with grandma to yard sales as she scouted out things to buy to resale in the store. I remember it was in a big brick building with glass windows.

Summers were fun! Two of our cousins were being raised by our grandparents, so there was always someone to play with and we’d make up games. I remember Grandpa’s garden and Grandma’s blackberry cobbler best, she would always drizzle a little milk around the cobbler in the bowl. Grandpa had lost one of his legs many years prior in a railroad accident, but still did pretty much anything he wanted to do. Two not so good things I remember about Grandma were her dry cornbread and getting a switching if you were bad, which only took once for me.

Both of my paternal grandparents are deceased now. Grandpa Linwood died at home from lung cancer when I was 17 years old. I went and stayed with my Grandma for a little while to help take care of him. I had been really close to my Grandpa, he was like a father to me. My Grandma Jane died many years later. I loved her, but we’d never been as close as I had been to Grandpa. He was like a father to me.

My maternal grandparents lived in Virginia as well, for as long as I can remember. Grandma Rachel was born in Tennessee and Grandpa Earl was born in Florida. I never met my Grandpa Earl. He was an alcoholic and died before I was born. He was an abusive man as well from stories I’ve heard. In a way, it doesn’t make me regret that I never got to meet him or have a miss for him.

Grandma Rachel remarried a nice man, my Grandpa Robbie. My sister and I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as our other grandparents, but I have memories of going to the beach…Nag’s Head and the Wright Brother’s memorials…sand crabs, seagulls, body surfing, and sand dunes. Grandma Rachel and Grandpa Robbie both loved to go scuba diving. Grandpa Robbie died in a scuba diving accident, which stories I’ve heard say was a questionable death.

I don’t remember when Grandpa Robbie died, but it must have been when we were young. I remember Grandma Rachel would come to visit us by herself in North Carolina sometimes, but we always referred to the visits as “grandma visits” and it wasn’t as a term of endearment. It stung a little, because we didn’t understand why she’d drive two and a half hours to see us for about an hour and then head back to Virginia. We always wished she’d stay longer, but we were still glad she came.

She never remarried again, but met another man. He was a great love in her life until he died from cancer. Everyone in the family considered him family and included him in holidays without hesitation. He enjoyed woodworking and made many frames for Grandma’s photographs she liked to take. They never lived together, but they spent a lot of time together. Often he would come over, Grandma would fix him lunch or sometimes they would go out to eat. His cancer came as a surprise and took him away too quickly.

I was never really close to my Grandma Rachel as a child, but as an adult, she is the Grandma I am closest to and I’ve had opportunities to get to know better. She is the only living grandparent I have left as well. I love my Grandma Rachel and am glad my daughter has had a chance to get to know her Great Grandma Rachel. She is a vibrant grandmother full of the spice of life. She loves photography, making crafts, and going places. She’s in her 80’s and keeps going. She even still cuts her grass. My mother recently visited her. It was nice when I called and found out they were both busy making beaded jewelry. I can only hope to be as active when I’m in my 80’s.

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