Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Big 70

70 years ago today, a wonderful guy was born. The doting family got their boy child to carry on the family name. He was cute, photogenic, and had lots of adoring relatives to fawn over him. He was smart (his mother said so many times!), quiet, and a good boy. He liked airplanes, cowboy stuff, and there was even one picture of him on the back of a horse!

He grew up and his intelligence took him through engineering school, and led to a wonderful scholarship for a Masters Degree at Northwestern University. His professor advisor now has a building named after him on the University campus! His study led him to work in the military/industrial business, designing radar for miitary planes. The childhood love of airplanes came back to become his life's work.

The cowboy connection returned into his life in the late 80's and early 90's when he got several chances to work offsite in Texas. He fell in love with the place! He came back from his long stint driving a Jeep 4 x 4, with several cowboy hats and pairs of cowboy boots in the back, and enough Tex-Mex decor to fill a couple of houses! Imagine my surprise when my very frugal partner called one night and asked if he could buy a $250 pair of cowboy boots! I almost fainted when I heard that! And he had a serious desire to move to Texas permanently if it were possible, to the point of dragging me around to look at houses during one of my visits there. But, I think his love of horses was limited to attending a rodeo or two and watching someone else ride! He got to assist his daughter-in-law in the process of turning a stallion into a gentler sort on one visit, and that about did it for him to squelch any love of horses! Let someone else deal with them!

The children remember things such as his advice "Measure twice, cut once." It took him a whole year to cut the studs for a basement remodel. When they were all in place, we said, "Good, now you can put up drywall." Hold on, not so fast! Every stud was cut to perfection and was solidly in place without one nail holding them! He had to take the entire thing down to nail down the baseplate, THEN nail up the studs before more progress could be made! Meticulous.

Another love of his was building garden walls. The first project lasted for 3 years from beginning to end. Big learning curve, plus the trips to Texas came in between and the infamous Flood of '93 made building outdoors a challenge that year! When we moved to the country, he ordered 1000 wall blocks to landscape a big house without one stick of outdoor hardscape, unless you want to count the 12 patio stones that were outside our two basement patio doors.. It took him several years to complete the wall building there, but everything was very nicely done and looked great. He wanted to build walls at this house, but we ordered the blocks when he was ill, he could barely pick them up. I had to have professional help to finish those walls, but they still remind me of him. I even did some wall building myself one year, after watching the master at work through all those projects!

The city boy was really a country boy at heart. He loved our country home, composed of 160 acres of land practically filled completely with trees, that place was his dream come true. He lived there and revelled in the woods. He wished to die there, if only wishes could come true!

We are not celebrating the birthday today in the usual way--beef stroganoff, noodles and German Chocolate cake. Those were the items on the menu on March 27 for many years. It has been almost 4 years now that we've been without our dear man. The Good Lord took him June 2, 2006, after a 22 month battle with brain cancer. He fought the good fight, and was positive till almost his last day on earth that the next day he would wake up and be all better. He finally accepted his fate one night, and said to me, "Well, I guess I'm screwed." He died 3 days later, quietly and with dignity. We were all with him till his last minute on earth.

So, here's to you Edwin, we'll remember you always. Your oldest grandson looks like you when you were 4, we have both of your pictures next to each other--there is an amazing resemblence. Grandson #2 told people for a long time, "See, I have a good airplane, my grandpa likes this airplane!" It's too bad that the younger grandkids don't remember this grandpa, because they were so little when he was taken away. Little Boy M said the other day, "I miss my grandpa. But I don't remember him that much!" It's amazing he does remember his grandpa, because he was just two when Grandpa passed away. His little sister was only 9 months old, and professes to remember her grandpa. Probably from the stories her mother and brother and aunts and grandma have told her. Your son and youngest grandchild bear your first name, and will carry on the family name to future generations. There must have been a reason God gave our son his three sons! To carry on the family name proudly.

Anyway we all have good memories of our dear husband, father, brother-in-law, cousin, grandpa, we say hi everytime we pass the cemetary near our house, and on March 27, we remember that a really great guy celebrated his birthday on this day.

And our little friend in the country shares his birthday, so Happy Birthday to you, Lady L! You are growing up too fast.

1 comment:

MonkeyGirl said...

We all love him and miss hi every day. Big virtual hugs and kisses to day and every day!