The Grandparent Project is off to a great start!
The purpose is to share photos and memories with my family in California and my grown children in the Midwest. Already my sisters have added comments and new photos to the story. Here’s one of my Aunt Sandy holding Grandbaby #1 (Susan) at my sister Sarah’s wedding. Aunt Sandy was not a grandmother yet, but obviously was enjoying the vicarious experience!
I’m beginning to realize that this project is perhaps also for the purpose of preparing myself to be a Grandmother. I will be turning 55 at the end of the summer. I try not to build up expectations, but I can’t deny that I am utterly fascinated by tiny humans related to my biology. Just sayin’, kids.
We left off Part One in January of 1988. There were two grandbabies on record, Susan and Josh. We lived in Pomona, roughly 400 miles south of the Bay Area where the grandparents, aunts, and uncles lived. Visiting them was always a whirlwind of opportunity to incorporate gathering together and engaging in activities we all enjoyed, like going to the San Jose Historical Museum, where Aunt Sarah worked and GranneLouise volunteered…
…or to Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz.
There were times when they came down to Pomona, but frankly, the surroundings were not as pleasant. You can see the Interstate sign in the background of one of these photos taken in our front yard. (note Grandpa’s hat…did I tell you that would be a recurring theme?)
At the end of 1988, Grandbaby #3 was born, but for that story, I have to defer to my sister Dharam Kaur.
Meanwhile, I was pregnant with Grandbaby #4, who arrived on March 27, 1989. I was ever so grateful that GranneLouise volunteered to care for Susan and Josh while I delivered Rebecca Louise, that she was able to meet her namesake on the very day she was born, and that she coached me through the first days of mothering three children at once. Grandpa George and Uncle David came down to collect her and meet the new baby about a week later. I clearly remember my mom marveling at my baby’s tiny, curled pinkie finger. “It looks just like a little salad shrimp!” she exclaimed. I laughed aloud in total agreement. What can I say? Discovery is delightful.
What is The Grandparent Project?
I hate to disappoint anyone, but it’s not a new federally funded program to help grandparents with anything as useful as medical care or as life-enhancing as access to the Arts. However, it is a personal blog project to help connect my children in the Midwest to their one surviving grandparent, my mother, in California. It serves as a family history forum so that we share memories and details with each other. (Hopefully, aunts, uncles and cousins will join in as well!) It’s also a project to motivate me to convert my photographs from prints to digital images.
So let us begin with the First Grandchild: Susan. She was born in Montclair, CA on January 24, 1985, less than a month after my mom turned 50. Roughly two weeks after she was born, Grandpa George drove down from Los Gatos with GranneLouise and Uncle David to meet her…and take pictures. (first photo of Grandpa in The Hat…this will be a recurring theme)In April, the family got together for her baptism. It was a grand affair on a Saturday evening; afterwards, we had a private party at La Piccoletta. Great Grandma Marion came along for that, as well as Godmother/Aunt Sarah and Uncle David (all of 11 years old) and a host of extended family on Jim’s side. (Grandpa Mo, Wendy, GranMarni, Great Aunt Millie, Great Uncle Jim, Great Cousin Joan, Aunt Maggie and Uncle Dave) There was a professional photo shoot for that event, with Susan wearing the baptismal dress that I wore as a baby, too. That photo is in a frame and too large for me to scan, so here’s one taken under the tree at St. Ambrose Church the next morning. There are four generations of brown-eyed girls here. Needless to say, Grandbaby #1 was A Big Deal for both sides of the family.
The next big event in the family was Sarah’s wedding, and Susan traveled north to Los Gatos and then up to Coos Bay, OR (via the Benbow Inn) for that. She was 9 months old and walking, but very petite. (click on the pictures to see them in a full frame)
A month later, the Gran Family came down to Pomona to visit again. In the spring, I had a miscarriage, but that summer, we went up to Los Gatos. This one was taken at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, I think.
By the end of the summer, I was pregnant with Grandbaby #2: Joshua. He was born April 5, 1987. He first met his grandparents when they came down at Easter; his baptism party was in August. Michael Goggins is holding him in this picture, but he had to wait until Grandbaby #4 to become an official Godfather. Let’s just say that he did such a great job at the dress rehearsal that he stole the role for the rest of the show. There was another trip north to LG in June.
In October of that year, GranneLouise did us a special favor and came with us to the Far Western District Barbershop competition in Reno to stay with Josh in the hotel room while I watched my husband compete and celebrated his victory afterwards. For that effort, she won the Choice Nanny award from the quartet, Musician’s Choice.The next visit was in Pomona after Christmas for GranneLouise’s birthday on New Year’s Eve. That party involved the animal noses and the wind-up toys, and you can see that Josh was getting into the spirit of it as a full-fledged member of the family!
Although, he seemed a bit more shy the next day.
This brings us to the year 1988 and the end of Part One. More to come!
“Only connect.” – my mother
“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” – E. M. Forster Howard’s End
“True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self elements. There’s no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that, you are no long caught in the idea that you are a separate entity.” – Thich Nhat Hanh