Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Herb & Evelyn

There has always been something soothing about my grandparents. Being around them was like applying Aloe vera after spending a blistering day in the sun. They give me comfort and peace.

Now, this may seem ironic to those who know them, because, after 57 years of marriage, my grandparents still mix as well as oil and vinegar. Yet their constant bickering is familiar and still quite amusing. They offered me stability and wisdom when I needed it most. Though they are not perfect, I am forever indebted to them. I am also thankful that they have been such an influential part of my life. So who better to start my blog with? The following is gleaned from a recent conversation with them.

My grandmother was born in St. Francisville, Illinois. She is 76. Her mother was German and her father was French. She’s the oldest of three girls. She was raised in a single-parent family, which at the time was very rare. My grandfather was born in Flint, Michigan. Now 77, he also came from a strong single mother of Scottish descent. This is their first similarity: both my grandparents came from broken homes, a fact I realized only recently. They both agreed that they were happy, or more accurately, that they were not sad. Perhaps “content” would be an accurate description.

My grandmother feels her talent is crafts: doing needlepoint, sewing, and crocheting. My grandfather feels his talent is his ability to talk (all who know him can attest to this!). My grandmother can’t decide the best thing that ever happened to her. It’s a close tie between meeting my grandfather and learning about God. The best thing for my grandfather was meeting my grandmother. Interestingly, my grandmother has said that as a child she had no imagination: she was focused on surviving day to day, and dreams and aspirations were not an option. At the time, it was expected that a girl would get married and have children, so that is what she did. My grandfather, on the other hand, readily admitted he was a dreamer. His biggest dream was becoming a concert harmonica player.

The happiest time in my grandmother’s life was her teenage years. They were poor, but she had her mom and three sisters. The saddest time was when her mom died. This was over twenty years ago, but it brought tears to her eyes thinking of all the good times they enjoyed. This reaffirmed in my mind that no matter how old we are, we still need our parents. The happiest time for my grandfather is now. The saddest time in his life was when my mom (his oldest daughter) and my dad got divorced. He had to try to mend the broken hearts of his grandchildren, reaffirming the fact that divorce damages the hearts of all involved.

So what forgotten wisdom do my grandparents offer? First of all: grandparents are powerful! They may have regrets about their own children, but they have a chance to redeem themselves with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If they choose to, they will be able to influence lives of future generations long after they are gone. They can offer support, guidance, and unconditional love. That is something every child needs more of.

Secondly, life is not about finding bliss; it’s about finding contentment. My grandparents are satisfied with what they have and with the life they have chosen. In a world that is constantly striving for more, this is an amazing accomplishment. They are not out searching for something better; they’ve already found it!

by Aubrey Avila

I learned a few things I will never forget after interviewing my grandparents. First of all: don’t get married young. That is one of my grandma’s biggest regrets. The second thing I learned is that they never regretted serving God. They said it is one of the best things they have done with their life. Lastly, even though they fight and bicker, they will always love each other.

by Ansleigh Avila