I have been blessed to know all 4 of my grandparents. They all had very different personalities and I loved them for it.
My paternal grandparents:
Richard Lloyd Morgan and Eva Marie Zielinski.
Richard Lloyd Morgan, “Dick”, was born on January 26, 1902, in Cardiff, Illinois. He was the sixth child of William Morgan and Margaret Lloyd. He died April 20, 1978, at the age of 76.
Eva Marie Zielinski was born on June 12, 1902, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the tenth child of Michael Zielinski and Frances Stefanska. She died April 28, 2011, at the age of 101.
My maternal grandparents:
Franciszek Galkowski and Helen Wanda Wagner.
Franciszek Galkowski, “Frank”, was born on August 15, 1907, in Borzecin, Poland. He was the first born child of Franciszek Galkowski and Marya Bujak. He died July 20, 1986, at the age of 78.
Helen Wanda Wawszkiewicz was born on May 12, 1917, in Freeport, Illinois. She was the second child of Franciszek Wawszkiewicz and Maryanna Suska. She died June 1, 1987, at the age of 70.
My Grandpa Morgan died when I was 10. I remember him for rides in the red wagon and also for being able to ‘bake’ a quarter and turn it into a silver dollar. What? Not possible you say – oh, yes it is – I spent many, many visits sitting in front of the stove waiting for it to cook! Some times I wish I could remember his voice. He had a major stroke when I was 9. He was paralyzed on one side. I would go to the hospital and push him around and talk to him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t talk and couldn’t eat solid foods. I looked beyond that and his condition never phased me. I think of him fondly.
My Grandma Morgan was known to her friends as the “Bible Lady”. This was not always welcomed with open arms. I found myself explaining to family and others this way: Grandma was a telemarketer for Christ. If she gets even one person to take heed in what she says, then she has done her job. She would drop pamphlets in people’s walkers at the assisted living facility. She would quote the bible in almost any situation. This was fine with me – what I didn’t like was that she didn’t always practice what she preached. I was the only one in the family that had no problem telling her she was out of line or telling her that her preaching was enough for now. She would just laugh and move on. She lived to two months shy of 102, in good health and sharp mind. Certainly a blessing!
My Grandpa Galkowski (and Grandma) lived with me. They moved in when I was 5 years old – their neighborhood was changing and they needed more and more assistance. My Grandpa Galkowski and I used to watch sitcoms and late afternoon soap operas together. I guess it was our bonding time. When I got into my teenage years, we would sit on the front porch, listening to a baseball game or something and I would moan and groan about my mom. He told me one time: “Imagine what it was like to raise her”.
He also was an accessory to my mother’s seeing through walls. I remember the day I found out that she couldn’t see through walls. It was almost as traumatic as the time I discovered there was no Santa Claus (that will need to be a whole new blog post!). Anyway, my grandpa used to sit in the rocking chair that was in the living room, but could be seen from the kitchen. I was in the living room, my mother in the kitchen. I was testing her.
“How many fingers am I holding up?”
“How about now?”
I said this as I turned to look at my grandfather. He was showing two fingers on the side of his face, trying to make it look like he was holding his face up with his hands. BUSTED! I was sooo upset with them. Mainly because my grandfather laughed and laughed!
My Grandma Galkowski lost her mother when she was 17 and her younger brother (11) and father were still in the house – during the Great Depression. She married my grandfather two years later and they all lived together. My grandma was a seamstress and she crocheted. She taught me how to crochet when I was 5 and I still do it to this day. She even lived through my yarn/needle throwing when my work didn’t look like hers. Eventually, it did!