With Father's Day coming up and Mother's Day just having passed, I thought I would write a blog in honor of my parents, who are still alive, and in honor of my grandparents who are all deceased. This blog will describe each person and tell a little about what I have learned from each one. Definitely, I would not be the person I am today without their influence.
Marion B Stroman - My paternal grandfather, Grandpop. I remember him being calm and laid back and being excellent at building things out of wood, he also was great at fixing things (anything). I remember the beautiful dulcimers and violins he made. He taught me to make deviled eggs. When my sister and my cousins and I would spend the weekend with him and my Granny, we would always get a history lesson on Charleston, SC. I wish I had listened more and paid attention because it probably would have helped me in school - I only remember playing on the cannons at the battery. The biggest lesson I learned from Grandpop was this: Use the skills God gave you to help others.
Sarah R Stroman - My paternal grandmother, Granny. She loved the Lord and she was always busy. Her and my grandfather had 6 children and by the time I came around, many grandchildren. She took pride in her family and was always getting us together. The Sunday or holiday dinners at her house were always full of love. She played the piano and the organ and passed that love for music down to my dad and then to me. I remember sitting beside her on the piano bench while she played and pushing any keys I could. She would play the piano at the retirement home for the elderly to enjoy. Granny wasn't a big phone person, but she was excellent about keeping in touch via snail mail. All through college and even when we lived in Japan, I could always count on getting a letter from her. Everybody loves to get letters or cards and I was always excited to get her letters. In fact, I still have them stored away. Some of my fondest memories of her include: Her always telling me about how she could walk around w/ a telephone book on her head - she liked to exercise and stay in shape. When we would go on trips w/ her and Granpop to Greenville, SC, I remember her giving us a piece of candy or a tic tac every time we passed over a bridge. She is the only grandparent of mine that my daughter got to meet and I am glad I have pictures of those meetings to remember them by. The greatest lesson I learned from her was this: It is a joy to take care of others and make them smile.
James E. Stroman - my father, Dad. Organized and responsible and loves music, very much an equal mix of his parents. My dad took care of his family. He always did what he needed to do to take care of us. He loved music - he is a band director - and he tried to pass that love down to his children. I know all of his kids love music and can play at least one instrument. He was my teacher in middle school and remember him making more nervous than any other teacher b/c I wanted to please him and wanted him to be proud of me and I think he was. After my parents divorced, I remember my dad learning to cook green bean casserole to take for Thanksgiving dinner at Granny's - I always think of him when I eat green bean casserole. I think the biggest lessons I have learned from my dad is this: Stay calm and don't get stressed out about things because it doesn't help the situation and enjoy the journeys life gives you.
Claude Emil Jensen - my maternal grandfather, PopPop. My namesake, I have the female version of this grandfather - Claudia Emily. He was a man of few words, but he enjoyed having company. He loved to share his knowledge with you and was even more happy when you actually applied the things he taught you. You could always find him near the grill or outside in a chair enjoying God's creation (usually with a beer as well). For a time, my sister and I both lived my Pop Pop. Since he was a man who liked things the way he liked them, this experience taught us to adapt to our surroundings and also to conserve energy and water. I remember him not wanting us to use the dryer unless we had to. He thought we didn't like the idea of hanging our underwear outside, but I honestly just didn't like the feel of clothes air dried. My PopPop did a lot to help out with my wedding and I'm glad I have those pictures to remember him by. The lessons I learned from him was this: Learn, learn, learn and don't be wasteful.
Jaqueline Mainor Jensen - my maternal grandmother, Grammy. She is the grandparent I had around for the shortest amount of time, but I think she made the biggest impact on my life. Both sides of my family were very matriarchal, but my Grammy was very big into family getting together. I remember Christmases at her house with the whole family gathered together, people sleeping on couches and floors, it was great to spend that time with our loved ones. I still think of Grammy when I dust furniture, wrap presents, or eat fettuccine alfredo because she taught me how to do all those things - well she didn't teach me to eat fettuccine alfredo, but to make it. Fondest memories include: Her watching my sister and I after preschool and putting sugar on our grilled cheese sandwiches and spending time at her house while watching my cousin Madison. I'll never forget when she told me I reminded her of her mom because I was always concerned with how others felt. Not sure if that is always a good thing, but it is something I think about pretty regularly. The lesson I learned from Grammy is this: Don't let a day go by being angry at your family, and as my mom just reminded me "when people get mad, they'll get glad again"
Mary Elizabeth Jensen - my mother, Mom. Again a perfect mixture of her parents - caring, thoughtful, loves to learn and loves her family. My mom has a great heart, she will go to great lengths to show you that she cares about you. When I was little, I remember her staying up late to help me with projects and always reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to us at Christmas time. My mom always (and still does)buys the best stocking stuffers, cool little stuff that you would never buy yourself but you are definitely glad you have. Mom always makes an effort to come and see me or for me to come see her, especially now that Lilly is around. She was there for Lilly's birth and I'm so glad she was a part of it because she understood the pain. Our relationship now is so much stronger now that I am a mom too - I feel like something is missing when I go a day without talking to her, but I know that she is always there when I need her. Lessons learned from my Mom is this: Show people you care about them, don't just say it and the memories with my husband and daughter are worth much more than a clean house.
God - my heavenly father - lessons learned from Him would take up many blogs so I'll just say that of course I owe my life to Him and that I hope to never stop learning from Him. Thank you, Father, for allowing me to be a daughter of the Most High!