He made me laugh.
He loved me unconditionally.
My maternal grandfather was a character. In the real sense of the word. I called him Opa; the German version of Grandpa. He was very proud of his German ancestry. I called my grandmother Oma, in deference to his wishes I imagine. I saw Opa and Oma frequently throughout my childhood. They only lived an hour or so away. [My paternal grandparents lived farther away & unfortunately I rarely saw them]
We “clicked” – Opa and I – from my earliest memories of him. He “got” me in ways no one else did. He embraced the tomboy in me and loved to boast about my supposed skills on the softball field. “How’s my favorite shortstop?” he would greet me when I was 13. He encouraged me in all my interests. He did not, however, always approve of my choices of television shows and later…my politics. The thing is, we could always agree to disagree. I could speak up to him and it was okay. Never any love lost. More on that in the future…
He called me his “#1 Granddaughter” (I was the oldest), but he would always be sure to add…”but I love all my grandchildren the same.”
He was smart, funny, strong-willed but fair. As a child, that’s how I knew him. He could also be difficult, abrupt and demanding. But never with me. More on that in the future as well… His sense of humor bordered on the – shall we say – inappropriate at times, but I always loved feeling like I was in on the joke.
Opa and I became “pen pals” when I was about 10 years old. I still treasure those letters, so carefully written in his distinctive script. Sometimes on fancy stationary from fancy hotels when he was on a business trip or vacation. They always made me feel more grown up than I was…
He died over 25 years ago and I miss him still.
He believed in reincarnation.
He left me with so many unique memories – along with his letters, home movies and photographs. So many stories!