Monday, October 25, 2021

Yesterday In Holliston


Spooky cupcakes, gourd soccer, and spectacular jack-o-lanterns carved on a gorgeous October day yesterday! xo

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Emma's Apple Pie


In addition to being Indigenous Peoples' Day on Monday it was also Canadian Thanksgiving. Anyone who has followed us in this space (or anyone that knows us really) knows that we have celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving since October 2016 when the Disney Cruise we were supposed to take (to the Caribbean) was rerouted to Canada instead due to Hurricane Matt. Had we kept that sailing we would have been in Canada on Canadian Thanksgiving so we decided to honor that by celebrating at home and have done so ever since! And so, this past Monday, on Canadian Thanksgiving Emma asked if we could make an apple pie. We found a recipe from Yankee Magazine (since I couldn't find the one I had from church) and Emma got to work making her first ever apple pie (and my guess is it won't be her last)! She did a fantastic job and it was the perfect ending to our Thanksgiving meal! xo 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Friday, October 8, 2021

The Last Letter

On July 6th we received what would be the last piece of correspondence from my grandfather. He sent this via email in response to the pictures I sent to him from July 4th at Old Sturbridge Village. I have to admit, I do kind of wish this had arrived via the post as it would have been lovely to have just one more signature from him, but recieving email from your 101 year old grandfather (or great-grandfather in the case of the girls) is pretty fabulous too! 

Today, the family gathered to pay tribute to this pillar of the community of Roselle NJ and honor a life well lived. When we shared with the girls that he had passed we asked them if they wanted to go. You see, they never met him in person. They did see him over Zoom when we celebrated his 100th birthday (the pandemic messed up the party my Aunt Gail was planning for him) but other than that their relationship with him was purely through letters and phone calls and they asked to remember him that way. They didn't want their first time meeting him to be at his funeral. We honored that request as it seemed like a wise and good one. For a brief moment we toyed with me going alone but with the girls now at Parker and no one to get them in the afternoons it wasn't possible for me to attend. I sent our decision (and reasoning) to my Aunt Gail, Uncle Roger, Uncle Dan, Dad, Mom, Grant and Kaitlyn. Everyone was super sweet and understanding (which made us not being there all the more heart wrenching)! 

Today, when I went to find his obituary, I came across this post on Facebook that my cousin Rachel had shared on their town page. When I last looked there were 63 comments from people who thought the world of my grandfather! It was quite a sweet discovery and one that I am so glad to have happened upon. 

My mother, father, brother and sister were all in attendance for his wake yesterday and funeral today. I have yet to hear all the stories, but the ones I have heard are quite spectacular! Evidently the Mayor attended and spoke during the ceremony. A police escort to the cemetery was given. And the new press box at the high school football field is to be named for him (he was a constant at the high school football games taking pictures and video for decades), There's even talk that a room in the not-yet-built new library will be named for him. 

We will miss his letters. We will miss his phone calls. But we are grateful for both. He and I started writing letters almost twenty years ago. In those twenty years I have learned more about my grandfather than  I ever knew before and had a stronger connection to him than I did prior. I am grateful that he wrote down so many of his memories and so much family history and entrusted them to me (and later on to Emma and Grace) . I love that he got such a kick out of the girls! His first two great-grandchildren definitely held a very special place in his heart. He was super impressed that they wrote letters (and in cursive too)! While I make it a policy to not have regrets (I have exactly two, one regarding Grace and preschool, and this one that I am about to share) I do regret that we did not visit him, so that he could have had time with the girls in person, too. I do think they had a deeper connection with him than they may have if it was just visits so in the end I think it all worked out the way it was meant to, but still...

I will miss my pen pal (though he did replace me a few years ago with Emma) and I know that Emma misses her pen pal deeply already! One of the first days she was at Parker her advisory was asked to bring in their "most precious thing". Some kids brought stuffed animals or pictures or things like that. Emma brought her great-grandfather's letters. It choked me up then and chokes me up now. Such a sweet and special soul she is. 

Rest easy grandpa knowing that you have left behind a strong and wonderful legacy. Not just within our family but within the community of Roselle too. Thank you for the letters, the stories, the phone calls, the emails and the PowerPoint presentations. We will carry these stories and your memories with us and pass them on to the generations to come. xo