Do you have a favorite grandparent memory? In honor of March for Meals, we’re sharing our favorites with you!
My father’s parents were immigrants from China. Of their five sons, they chose to live near my dad in the middle of Northern Wisconsin. Growing up, we would go over there every Sunday night for Chinese dinner, so I have wonderful memories of their feeding me.
My mom’s dad was a professor of agriculture at the University of Illinois. In the course of his career he spent a lot of time overseas assisting with farming initiatives in the developing world. When he and my grandmother were in Western Africa – Sierra Leone I think it was – apparently a Black Mamba snake got in the house. Family lore has it that Grandma Gerry killed it…by beating it with a stick!
-Reverend Greg Han, Director of Interfaith Relations
When I was in the eighth grade, my middle school had an assembly to learn about veterans and Grandpa Chester came to speak. He had been a rear gunner in the air force in World War II, in Greece. I remember being so very proud of him.
Later in his life, he was a Meals on Wheels recipient in Midland, Texas. Working for an organization that provides Meals on Wheels enables me to feel a special connection with him even though he’s gone.
-Carey Reagan, Interfaith Relations Youth Initiatives Manager
My family is originally from Ghana, but I grew up in Connecticut. When I was nine years old, my family had the opportunity to travel to our native country to visit our extended family. When I stepped off the plane I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I started sobbing uncontrollably. My grandmother, who I was meeting for the very first time, came over and hugged me. She couldn’t speak much English, but as she held me she managed to say, “You don’t have to cry. You’re home now.”
-Vesta Bortey-fio, Interfaith Relations Programs Fellow
I grew up in Ohio and by the time I was 8 years old both sets of grandparents had retired and moved to opposite ends of the country (California and Florida). While that meant I didn’t get to see them often, it did mean that trips to see them were adventures. I have one particular memory of my grandfather in California taking me to fish. They lived on a small lake in Southern California. After what seemed like hours of trying (probably not nearly that long), I FINALLY caught my first fish. It was all of about two inches long. My grandfather very sweetly and kindly congratulated me and the promptly proceeded to tell me we could cut it up and use it for bait.
-Carol Flores, Manager of Disaster Preparedness and Response
Words cannot express what a strong, beautiful, and amazing lady my grandmother was. She could not read or write and barely spoke English (her native language was French), but she raised all 12 of her children and her first generation of grandkids (myself included) completely on her own. My grandmother was completely unselfish – she would give you the clothes off her back if you needed them. I remember one time she brought some strangers in off the street and fed them, never asking for anything in return. She always told us never to turn anyone down for food, because you never knew when you would need someone to feed you. She also taught me what was truly valuable in life. We didn’t have much growing up, but we had each other and she made sure we had food and clothes on our backs. She would say that material things didn’t matter – that what was most important were the people you loved. My grandmother had a heart of gold. Because of her love and strength I know I can do anything.
-Melissa Toups, Refugee Services Quality Assurance Specialist