Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Grandpa...

I have this sweet little birdie that someone special bought just for me...
to remind me of someone else that was very special:


I love it.
I loved him.
It makes me happy to wear it.

Grandpa was born April 1, 1898.
(He never liked having an April Fool's birthday!)
I wish I could have known him as an adult.
He was the smartest man I ever knew.
His mother abandoned the family when Grandpa was only three.
His sisters and dad raised him on the farm.

This is the farmhouse grandpa's father built, making each cement block himself. When his wife left around 1901, the home was unfinished. It still remains unfinished, even though great grandpa lived out his life here.

He grew up, and went to learn to be a teacher.
He taught in a one room schoolhouse.
(Once, when he was outside playing with the kids at recess--yes, teachers then did it all!--he punted the football, and it went straight down the school chimney and exploded in the wood stove!)
He went on to Michigan State, back when it was an agricultural college .

He got his degree in addition to having a wife and children.
He found a place to teach, to raise a family.
He built a house in the post-war era, salvaging materials and saving for it.

This is the home grandpa built himself with the help of salvaged materials.

He never whined about his life, even though it handed him some rough times.

His wife died in the prime of their lives of breast cancer, leaving him with five children.

He finished raising them, even though he had a complete breakdown with grief and stress related to his wife's long illness and subsequent death.

He was the hardest worker, and the most knowledgeable man on so many subjects I can hardly believe it.

He read a lot.

He was WISE.

He had a twinkle in his eye and a ready laugh.

I liked how he scratched his head as he walked away, the way he walked, with purpose.

Grandpa was not only a smart man, he had tons of common sense.

And Grandpa always said he'd rather die happy than skip dessert.

He retired and deserved it after a long, long career in education that saw him as a teacher, administrator, superintendent, coach, anything the little school needed, he could do it.

When he retired, he went right back to work, and having planned ahead, had a nursery business and an antique business from his home place.

He grew the most beautiful flowers and landscaped his yard to perfection.

I loved seeing him on his old Ford tractor that he used for his nursery work.

His antique business wasn't just buying and selling, he remade and refinished and
re-tooled or re-manufactured anything to do with old furniture and furnishings in his workshop.

He always said there was plenty of job security if you could get your snout in the government's trough.

(Grandpa's career was BEFORE the unions took over our schools.)

In addition to being a charming seller and shopkeeper, he could tell you stories about all the items he bought and sold, because he lived his life using these pieces.

I miss grandpa, and I always will hold him in the highest esteem.

And, I'll eat dessert today and remember him.


hIWTHI said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Grandpa...loved it :) The little bird is so sweet.

From the Old InkWell said...

Sounds like a wonderful man! They are far and few between these days! :) Love the photo of the house with snow and a little red peeking through!!

Unknown said...

Your grandpa sounds like a wonderful man full of wisdom, and willing to share with those around him. Your bird and the photos of the homes he lived in are wonderful also. The best part is his quote!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your tribute to your Grandpa. Thank you for sharing!

mary your sis said...

He was prophetic... he always said that the teacher's unions would destroy public education: they have! He said that one day, health care would only be available to the very wealthy: after ObamaCare kicks in, it will be available only to the wealthy, corrupt & politically connected. He was an independent thinker and I think he would have been proud that you and I agreed with him on the shortfalls of public (indoctrination) education. He would have been cheering on our independence in doing our part to remedy that through homeschool education. He knew it was important to do what was right even without the support of weak-minded people around you!

I'm sure he would have loved listening to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck; he was a dyed in the wool, staunch conservative and he knew WHY he was, with well-thought out philosophies and an appreciation for authentic history and classic literature.

I'll always remember listening to him recite 3 page peoms from memory and playing the harmonica. He always had a ready answer for a certain son-in-law who needed to be put in his place. Remember when he said his favorite church service was playing hymns on the pump organ in his antique shop with a group of buddies and then playing poker afterward? Heehee!


mary your sis said...

Grandpa reminds me so much of another wise conservative who inspired me to do my best: Ronald Reagan!

Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

Mary, these days I think of Grandpa a lot: for one thing because he used to say "You watch, once the government gets so greedy it takes more than forty percent, the people will revolt."

It's happening. We're fed UP!

Ali said...

Such a lovely post about your Grandpa. If only our country had more people like him in it, we might not be in the mess we are now! When I eat dessert tonight, I will think of him! =)

marie said...

Grandpa Pettit was an amazing man- very rational and reasoning. I loved that he taught all the hard science and math classes while being superintendent. I liked being able to figure out his math problems, watching 60 Minutes, and feeling totally accepted in his home. His hands were short and wide- Marty and Owen have the same hands. He taught me how to refinish furniture. He valued intelligence over dogma.
And while I doubt he would have liked many of societies conditions, he also wouldn't have liked the ugly, uncivil tone the rhetoric often takes.
A very special man.

Donna said...

What a wonderful man! They don't make many like that anymore - salt of the earth. God bless him and your sweet memories!

Teresa said...

What a wonderful man, and how special your memories of him are. My memories of my grandpa in his huge garden are some of my favorites. Thanks for reminding me of my papa!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful kind words -- don't we hope our own grandkids will think so kindly of us... I would have enjoyed meeting him.

jamjar said...

Your Grandpa sounds like the sort of man we all want our sons to become!
Here's to your grandpa!

Victoria said...

No foolin', this was a really nice tribute to your Grandpa! You describe him like you spent every day of your childhood with him. A man of many talents and a very HARD WORKER. Kind and admirable.

Tanya said...

What a wonderful story to share. I would have liked to have been around a man like that to hear the wisdom. A lovely tribute to someone special for you. He's obviously still very much alive in your heart. Thank you for sharing such a lovely story.

Unknown said...

He sounds like someone I'd love to have known. ;D
I wish I had known my grandfathers, one passed away before I was born and the other when I was eight years old. :( You are right, you are very blessed.

Gina said...

So beautiful. I love him, just reading about him. I cried, for my own grandparents were like this.

FHCS said...

I love your tribute to your Grandpa.....I have a special place in my heart for my grandpa too. It sounds like he was a great man that left a wonderful impression on you and his family. What a wonderful way to be remembered! The pictures are just beautiful too.