Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who Are You? A Topic for Each Week of the Year {Week 6: Grandparents}

Week 1: Birth
Week 2: School
Week 3: Hobbies
Week 4: Birthdays
Week 5: Childhood Home

6. What were your grandparents like? Do you have any special memories of them? Do you remember any stories that they told you about themselves or your parents?

My mama's parents:
June Tippetts Newman was always the typical, sweetest old lady. I have some of the best memories of visiting her and my grandpa in their home in Lehi. Grandma Newman was the gum lady. She had a little container full of gum, and kids in the neighborhood would knock on the door simply to get one little half piece of gum. One of my favorite memories of Grandma Newman is when my mom and I went with her to visit my cousins in Illinois my freshman year of college. We spent a couple of days in Nauvoo, and on one day, I had a terrible headache, which put me in an awful mood. At one point, Grandma turned to me and said, "Oh Lindy! Put a smile on your face for the whole human race!" I was most definitely not amused at the time, but it always makes me laugh when I look back on it. It is just such a Grandma thing to say. She is always looking on the bright side of things and never wants people to be upset. She has been diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer's the past couple of years, and it has been very sad to see the grandma I know and love disappear little by little.

William Newman was one of the best men I have ever known. He and Grandma Newman served three missions together. I was able to go visit them with my parents when they were in Kirtland, Ohio. We spent a few days in Kirtland and then drove up to Palmyra with them. I was eleven, and I loved the very personal time I got to spend with Grandma and Grandpa and my parents. Grandpa Newman was the bow-tie man. He never wore a regular necktie; he always wore bow ties. He also did the best Donald Duck impression, and he was the best at sneaking up on you with a surprise tickle attack. I could never sit next to him without getting tickled. One of my very favorite memories of him was when I had a project for my eighth grade science class. Grandpa was an electrical engineer and could build just about anything, so when I found out I had to build a catapult, I knew who I was going to for help. My mom and I spent four hours in Grandpa's garage, where I "helped" him build my catapult. In all reality, I did absolutely nothing once he got a hold of the project. My catapult may not have thrown my tennis ball the farthest in my class, but I can guarantee that it was the highest quality of the bunch. Grandpa never did anything halfway. In 2005, Grandpa Newman passed away from liver cancer. I still miss him a ridiculous amount.

My daddy's parents:
Mona Archibald Brown. I always remember Grandma Brown for holidays. My siblings and I are the only grandkids on that side of the family, so we spent (and still spend) nearly all holidays at their house. Growing up, birthdays and Christmas were always a big deal. Grandma Brown's birthday is on December 22, which meant that we spent a lot of time at their house the week of Christmas. We would go over for Grandma's birthday, again on Christmas Eve for our big celebration, and then again on Christmas Day to open presents. While that has mellowed somewhat, we still spend Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Brown's house. Grandma makes stockings for every person in the family. She even had a new one for Andrew the Christmas after we got engaged. She also gets white elephant gifts for the exchange that we do every year. To this day, it does not feel like Christmas until we go to Grandma's Christmas Eve party.

Boyd Brown can be described as a crotchety old man. But we all kind of love him for it. He likes to argue with people, and it's usually kind of funny, until it gets out of hand. Which happens on occasion. Grandpa smoked forever (like 50 years or something) before finally quitting cold turkey. Before he quit, Grandma forced him to go outside and smoke his cigars on the patio because she didn't want the smell in her house. Grandpa would sit outside and smoke for a bit, and then he would store what was left of his cigar between a couple of bricks outside their door. I always thought that was funny. When my siblings and I were little, he convinced us all that an angry badger lived under their house. It made me perpetually terrified to go in their basement. He also had lots of fun popping his dentures out at us. When I was little, Grandpa liked to introduce me to foods he thought I would hate. He gave me dill pickles, fully expecting me to make a funny face and spit it out. Instead, I ate the whole thing and still love pickles to this day. Grandpa has emphysema from all those years of smoking, so he now needs a constant supply of oxygen. When he's at home, he just uses a really long tube that he trails with him wherever he goes without having to drag a tank with him. He has frequently gotten his great-grandkids tangled in his cord, and when he's sitting on the deck, we have to make sure we don't shut the door all the way. That has been the birth of many "don't kill Grandpa!" jokes.

I feel incredibly blessed that I still have three of my grandparents alive today. I know not many people can say that at 26 years old. I also feel blessed that both sets of grandparents lived close by so that I could make countless memories with them. And I'm so grateful to know that I will have the chance to be tickled by Grandpa Newman again one day.

This is probably my favorite photo of Grandpa Newman. Mostly because that's me he's holding.

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