While looking for something else at my dad’s house recently, I ran across a pile of small diaries of my grandfather’s (Pop Pop.) They were each dated on the front so I quickly searched through the piles for the year that I wanted to see: 1965.
I went directly to February 26, 1965…
The day I was born.
People are naturally drawn to information about their childhood. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we love to hear the stories. On this particular day, I was no different from the small toddler asking their dad to tell them the story about when they were born. I instinctively wanted to know what my grandfather’s thoughts were on that day. I imagined he wouldn’t say much since I was the umpteenth(ish) grandchild to be born. Surely he was used to it by now…
Two days later, on February 28th, he notes that my parents (Loy and Marlene) named me. Had they waited two days to name me? What other names were they contemplating? Was it just that Pop Pop didn’t know about it for two days? My mind began to question all the facts.
Then I saw the entry on March 1…
The piece of paper behind these pictures is the penciled, handwritten poem Pop Pop wrote about me and tucked it into his 1965 journal. How incredibly precious was this find?!!!
The poem was rudimentary and difficult to read, but it went something like this:
We’re glad for our little darling Greta
With feathers of an angel from heaven.
Her coming has brought us closer together as a chain
With its length unbroken
While she lies quietly in her little bed
Tho not neglected one moment of the day
With prayers of her safety, have been said
Consciously waiting to show her the way
Are two Christian parents and a beautiful home
To help her and show her the right way to go
From infancy to maturity that she may not roam
Out in the world, and be tossed to and fro.
I don’t even care how elementary the poem was, my grandfather cared enough to immediately pen a poem about his newest grand-daughter. The first-born to his youngest daughter.
There I was, sitting in my parents’ home, 50 years after this poem was written, 25+ years after Pop Pop died, feeling uniquely treasured and significant.
As I read through the days following, I noticed a number of days tha and dit he was sick. Then, after getting the clear from his doctor, he headed to Kansas City to meet his 8th granddaughter
I asked Scott if he knew anything about the Rock Island train.
“Oh sure. All those trains came into Union Station back then. Now those passenger trains are all gone.”
I couldn’t believe it; at the end of his Kansas City visit, my dad (Loy) took him back to Union Station to go back home to Duncan, Oklahoma. Union Station! The train station that I’ve photographed hundreds of times. The train station that I picketed for and signed petitions for in college to keep it from being torn down. Union Station where my children have gone on field trips and the halls of which Scott and I have walked in awe and wonder. Union Station, where my own parents would meet ‘under the clock’ when they were dating.
Pop Pop left from Union Station.
Pop Pop’s handwriting wasn’t perfect.
His spelling wasn’t perfect.
His poetry wasn’t textbook.
But I mattered enough for him to write it down.
A half a century after he picked up a dull pencil and opened his tender heart, I received the words with deep appreciation and honor.
I felt treasured…
All because Pop Pop didn’t wait until circumstances were ideal or that his handwriting was perfect.
It is vitally important that you write down your stories. Record your memories.
At some point and time, they will mean the world to someone.
Reaching out through death, with the help of a simple pen and diary, he hugged me tightly again.