Sunday, May 18, 2008

Joseph Frank

Although my blog starts in the past and is working towards the present day, I need to add this post which makes my blog out of order. I feel that for my kids this is an important post. Growing up I am sure we all have people who enter our lives that we look up to, admire, or feel have made a big impact on our life. The person that I admired growing up was my grandpa. His name was Joseph and he went by Joe.

My grandpa was born on 3-13-1914. He was born in Milwaukee and moved to Ohio after his graduation from the University of Wisconsin. He graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. He used his degree by working at the Chemical Division of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. for 43 years. My grandpa married and had 4 kids. I never met my grandma. She passed away when my dad was only 16. My dad was the third child. My grandpa never remarried and he was able to care for four kids and send them all to college on his own. He was a wonderful father.

I have many fond memories of my grandpa. Growing up he came to our home once a week for dinner. He also would go to my other aunt/uncle homes once a week for dinner. Whenever he came he always came with a half gallon of Friendly’s ice cream in hand. Our freezer always had at least three to four flavors of ice cream at any given time. He taught us about the “clean plate club” and made sure we never looked too thin. Whenever he was asked what type of ice cream he wanted after dinner his standard answer was always “whatever you want to get rid of.”
He attended all of our sporting events. Not just mine and my siblings but my cousins also. He was always at the swim meets, gymnastic meets, field hockey games, track meets, basketball games, baseball games, and football games. His nine grandchildren became his pride and joy besides his dogs.

My grandpa always had a four legged friend in his home. He took a love to any and all dogs no matter the breed or size. He often would make himself a sandwich for lunch and at the same time make one for his dog(s). He ate ice cream and the dog(s) helped lick the spoon and the bowl.

I was very close to my grandpa. I enjoyed his company. I was one of his “brats”. Not all nine of us were brats, but in the end I think it was a good thing to be one of his brats. He was at times feisty and very funny. He would get frustrated and say “damn” and the next thing out of his mouth was always “oh excuse me all to hell.” I love the fact that he never remarried and the memories of my grandma were always in his mind. He lived a simple life and was always kind and considerate of others. As he got older the fact that he lived alone started to show. My aunt (youngest child) and her husband and daughter moved in with grandpa. They lived and cared for him the remainder of his life. I know for all of their sacrifices I am grateful. Had my grandpa went into a nursing home or assisted living I think it would have changed him. He was a Badgers fan. Many of my cousins went to Ohio State. This always made the Ohio State vs. University of Wisconsin fun games to watch.

In March of 2000 my grandpa was getting sick. I was with him when we went to the hospital and found out that he was in kidney failure. He was soon put into hospice. He was given a few weeks and we were lucky to have an extra 4 weeks with him. We were there every day. We were able to spoil him with frostys from Wendy’s, back rubs, visits with the dogs.
This was when I was first starting to date Jeff. I was lucky that Jeff got to meet him one time. This was important to me. I always wanted my grandpa and dad to walk me down the aisle. So to have Jeff meet him when we first started dating was a good thing. We just wish the circumstances were different and the he had not been so sick the first time they met. Besides saying “hello” they really had no other conversation. I can only tell Jeff what a wonderful man he was.

Before my grandpa passed away I had a talk with him alone. I was able to tell him how much I loved and admired him. I told him that if I ever had a son I was going to name him Joseph after him. In typical grandpa style he said “what would you do that for?” He was a wonderful man that I miss dearly.
After the funeral the following day my cousin had a base ball game. Many family members were there and during the game the Good Year blimp circled above the sky. This would turn out to be our own personal family sign of grandpa. This blimp is ALWAYS showing up on days when you need it, or days that are meaningful to our family.

When I’m gone
When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile,
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And only remember the smile
Forget unkind words I have spoken;
Remember some good I have done.
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I’ve had loads of fun.
Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way.
Remember I have fought some hard battles
And won, ere the close of the day.
Then forget to grieve for my going,
I would not have you sad for a day,
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay,
And come in the shade of evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west.
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best.


Kim said...

I had a lump in my throat reading this story. Your grandpa sounded like a wonderful man and great grandpa.

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

Your grandpa sounds like he was a wonderful man. I LOVE all the dogs in that picture with him! Any man who loves dogs is a good man in my book! I'm very close to my grandpa, too, and am lucky enough to be his only granddaughter (spoiled, spoiled!). One of my daughters is named after my grandmother (his wife) and she said the same thing to me when I said I'd name a child after her..."now, why would you do a thing like that?!" But deep down, I think she was pleased. I'm sure your grandpa is, too. Love is like that.

Will Piper said...

Thanks for sharing your Wisconsin connection. I loved the part about the Friendly's ice cream always being in the fridge. Your grandpa sounds like a wonderful man- and a good Badger at that! While I never got to meet either of my grandfathers, I was very close to my Grandma Laila, who Hope is named after.

Thanks for sharing your story,

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