Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Back Again

Well, I'm back from a second trip to Indiana.  This was a much harder trip.  Grandpa's funeral went well, although that was when the fact that he's gone really set in, so it was a hard day.  Honestly, it's still setting in.  That's one thing Kalyn finds odd about me.  Leading up to a major life change, I'm fine.  I'm pretty practical, so I don't get real emotional about things.  But after the event, well, then things hit me.  This has been no different.  The last two weeks when Grandpa's health continued to decline, I was okay.  We knew he was dying and there was nothing anyone could do about it, but now after the fact, after the funeral really, I find myself tearing up for no good reason.  Oh well, to each their own.

I did get to see family that I hadn't seen since my childhood, and that was a lot of fun.  My cousin once removed, Mark Gensic, was there.  He played Amazing Grace on the harmonica at the grave site.  No one even knew he played harmonica.  He said he only knew three songs, but none of us would have guessed.  He's also from the "tall" side of the family.  The jerk is over six feet tall.  I'm jealous, but I make up for my 5'9" in girth.

I heard more stories about my family's history in the last few days then I had heard my whole life, and our family shares more about out history than most, so that's saying something.  Who knew my great-grandfather, Ignatius, was a traveling minstrel in Yugoslavia?  All I knew was that he was a railroad worker in the U.S.  I learned that it was not my great-grandfather that spent time in South America, but in fact, my great-grandmother, Francis, who was involved in slave labor before making her way back to Yugoslavia before coming to Chicago, where she met Iggy (as he was called here).  I learned that on both sides of my family, my grandparents eloped.  I learned my dad's mom's family moved to Markle because my grandmother was dating an Italian named Joe, and well...you just don't date foreigners, only to have her meet and begin dating a Croatian named Joe.  My grandfather's parents weren't any more happy because they were Catholic, and grandma was protestant, and you just didn't do that sort of thing back then.  In order to get married, my grandpa lied about his age so he could do it without his parents' permission.  Apparently you had to be 19 to get married without your parents' permission back then, and he and grandma were only 18.  So, 21 for the day he became.

We looked at old pictures.  I'd never seen my great-grandmother Ruth, or my grandmother's dad on my dad's side (I can't remember his name).  Before this weekend, I'd only ever seen one picture of great-grandmother Francis (she went by her middle name, Barbara) and my great-grandfather Iggy.  My Aunt Marcy took my grandpa's old 8mm film strips and put them on DVD, so we spent Saturday night watching old home videos of my dad as a kid and the extended family.  It was a lot of fun.  It was also very sad.  I wish so much that Grandpa could have watched those with us and shared in the laughs and the tears.  It was a good weekend with family, but now things feel sort of empty and lonely back down in KY by myself.  It probably doesn't help that Kalyn and Shep are down in TX visiting family there.

Well, I'll be getting back in the saddle again with my reading and posting.  I have some catching up to do.  Please continue praying for my family as they adjust to the loss of a very constant and good man.  For our family at least, it feels like an era has passed, the Era of Grandpa.

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