My Grandpa was the grandson of Ida Ojerholm, who I've talked about before on my blog. She came from Sweden in the 1880s. He's the son of her youngest child, Margaret. He was born too late to fight in WW2, but his cousin Eric Ojerholm was a Marine and fought and died at Iwo Jima (after his father fought in WW1, and survived).
My Grandpa was the only child of his parents, and early on loved and excelled at football. Right after he met my Nana, he played one season for the NY Giants! (which doesn't help me like them ONE BIT! :-P) But he was considered too small (ha!), and besides, my Nana told me, they "were in love" (said with a drippy, heavy voice)(my Nana was funny! :-)
So he didn't go back, and he married my Nana, and he went to work at two jobs and raised a little family of 3 girls!
About the time I came along (1969), he had just started a coaching job in Marlborough, Massachusetts, at which he would end up becoming "legendary Coach Kronoff", and be inducted into the High School Football Coaches' Hall of Fame! It was a huge deal!! But I am most proud of being his granddaughter because of his attitude, and it's effect on people. He had a strong work ethic, and as a coach (and later, a substitute teacher, where all the kids loved him, as well! :-), he never bullied or swore, or would allow that with his assistant coaches. He never allowed showing off in the end zone or after plays AT ALL. He believed in hard work, a positive attitude, and treating others with respect and fairness.
Long after he was coaching anymore, when I was an adult and would be visiting him and my Nana and aunt, random men would show up to see him and shake his hand and tell him what they were doing now -- sometimes they were IN college, sometimes they were married men -- and they wanted to come see him. He used to say that was one of the perks of being a coach for him, having former players come back to tell him how their lives were turning out.
In my swirling, chaotic life, HE was a grounding person for me -- my big, strong, never-ruffled Grandpa. Nothing bad could ever happen to us with my Grandpa as the head of our family.
....Except it did....
I will say one of the worst things that happened to blow apart my world was when my aunt Marcia, his youngest daughter and 30yrs old, was killed by a drunk driver. I was 17, and my dad drove me to my Nana and Grandpa's house that morning (she had died around 1am), where my aunt Diane, my mom and my sister Karen already were. It was horrifying. And the horrors just kept coming -- listening to all of my beloved grown-ups sobbing and my mind scrambling to find a way that it wasn't really true, it didn't really happen.....trying to WAKE UP from this horrible dream to my real life, where my biggest tragedy was having to tell my dad I got a B in Physics.
But there would be no waking up -- this WAS my real life, and what the worst memory for me of that day (and the days that followed) is, was when I heard my aunt Diane walk into my Grandpa's tv room where he was sitting, and then I heard him break down and cry, sobbing like a little boy but with the deep sounds of his voice. That's when it hit me that this WASN'T going to be ok, EVER .....my Grandpa was crying.
Recently, well "20yrs"-recently (lol), he enjoyed becoming a GREAT-Grandpa!! We have lots of pictures of him surrounded by an ever-increasing number of babies and little kids! :-)
Of course, *I* got the FIRST.....hee hee hee!
Being the oldest, I am ALWAYS first....!! :-D
Actually, the latest pictures of him with ALL the other grandchildren who have come along since are alot better -- CUTER! :-) There's him with TONS of kids!! I don't have any of those with me, I know my sisters have them on their cameras/phones/computers. THIS picture I posted is an actual paper picture, I can hold it in my hand. I remember being so impressed by the technology of my new camera that stamped the date on the pictures!
Here are some other favorite pictures of me and my Grandpa.....
The first two are with my dearest Nana, too! The last one of me on the slide is about a year or so later. I was the first grandchild, so I was treated like a princess!! :-D These pictures are also the hard, cardboard kind.....does that make me old....? :-)
I have to say, I'm really ready for this summer to be OVER, for this year to be OVER.....I feel overwhelmed by all this loss, and a little insecure now about who else could I/we lose before 2014 is over.....what is next? I haven't talked to Pat in almost a month, because she's traveling around the country visiting sisters and nieces with new babies, and having fun while she feels good. As far as I know, she isn't having any "cancer issues", and I'm VERY grateful for that.....I pray it continues ....forever! Of course, it can't..... *Sigh!*
I am sad and sorry that my Grandpa is gone, but I am glad for him that it was quick and he had lived a full, satisfying life that he felt grateful for. He also was happy and ready to join my Nana and Aunt Marcia and Aunt Diane, who died before him. I will miss him, but I am SO grateful and proud to be his grand-daughter! And I thank God for that. My heart is grateful.