Saturday, September 7, 2013

Grandparents are Grand

The Klaus, Hunsperger, & Hoffman families in 2007
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

My kids are fortunate enough to have three sets of loving grandparents.  All six of them eagerly sat in the waiting room of the hospital in Lafayette, Indiana on a cold January night for their oldest grandson to be born.  That was nearly 14 years ago.  They missed their second grandchild's birth because they were all on their way to Indiana (it's a 5 hour drive from St. Louis to Lafayette) and my wife had gone into labor and had our son 10 minutes after arriving at the hospital.  They all six waited in anticipation as our daughter was born nearly eight years ago.  They've all been a part of our kids' lives.

The Breslers & Hunspergers
It's something I did not have as a child.  My Grandpa Hunsperger died shortly after my parents got married.  My Grandma Hunsperger lived long enough to see the births of me and my brother, but she died right before my second birthday, so I don't remember her at all.  My maternal grandpa, Harry Bresler, Sr. died in an accident at work.  He was only 38 years old.  That left my Grandma Bresler a widow before age 40 with two teenagers and a special needs child at home.  I was fortunate to be able to know my grandpa's mother, my Great Grandma Hoskins.  My grandma's mom, Great Grandma Florian lived in Florida, but we saw her several times through the years until her death in 1998.

Grandpa & Grandma Bresler
My grandma did find love again, in the only grandpa I ever knew.  She and Grandpa Kenny never married, but were partners in life none-the-less.  One of my favorite stories (and I debated telling this publicly, but what the heck) was when my brother and I were about in our tween years.  I'm guessing I was about 11 years old, and we were spending the night at my grandparents' house.  We went out that evening to a nearby tavern.  As we ate lots of fried foods and drank our root beer, there was a movie playing on the TV behind the bar.  This was the early days of cable, and "The Last American Virgin" was on the screen.  We just happened to look up at the TV at the same time one of the characters was getting undressed.  Needless to say it was the first time I'd seen a George W. and obviously the image burned into my prepubescent brain.  I actually told this story as a part my grandma's eulogy last year.  It broke up the sadness of the day and brought a smile to everyone's face.

"Granny" at our wedding
While Grandma Bresler was my only blood grandparent I ever knew, there was another lady in our lives who loved and cared for us as if we were her family.  We loved her just as much.  We simply called her Granny.  Granny Ely was the mother of a close friend of our family.  I remember meeting her for the first time when I was in elementary school.  Granny watched after us several times, including once for an entire week when our parents and our friends' parents went on a cruise together.  It was Granny who introduced me to The Golden Girls, a show I still watch to this day and think of her each time it's on.

Like my own grandma, Granny recently passed away.  She had been battling Alzheimer's disease for more than a decade.  The last time I saw her was at the baby shower for my oldest son who is almost 14 now.  I miss her.  I miss my grandma.  I wish I would have had a chance to meet my other grandparents.  But I know they're all in a better place and helped to make me the person I am today, even if they were not here on Earth to do it.

If you have your grandparents in your life still, cherish the moments you spend with them.  Learn your family history, and share that with your children too.  It's one of the best gifts you can give them.  If you're a grandparent and are reading this, Happy Grandparents Day!

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