|A very young Grandpa Jim and Grandma Margie.|
Another good one is visiting him at the bank (where he worked). The bank in my grandparents home town is a typical small-town bank. It's kinda small, located in an old stone building, and the customers and/or employees didn't mind 10 kids running in and out all day looking for candy. Grandpa's office was in the back and he was always on his trusty typewriter. Always. He even used the typewriter for post-it notes. It was so cute. He'd always stop what he was doing and take us to the kitchen and feed us super sugary cokes and whatever other sugary snack he could find. Then send us sprinting down the alley back to our parents, literally bouncing off the walls.
Grandpa always had a smile on his face. A big ol' smile that made it so easy to smile back.
My mom talks about what it was like to grow up with him as a father and it's, really, quite different than what I remember him being like as a grandfather. Which, I suppose, is normal. Grandparents are always treating their grandchildren differently than what they treated their children. Grandpa Jim and Grandma Margie had 6 kids. SIX! Five girls and one boy....poor Uncle Bill. Mom would tell me that Grandpa worked his butt off for most of their youth. Always working, hardly ever home, or coming home late. Clients coming to the home, so he was working even though he was at home. All to provide a good life for his kids. Hugs came from Grandma, and 'I love you's' were rare, but they never felt that that was anything but normal. Grandma stayed home and ran the house and the kids. Took them all to the pool, or clothes shopping, or grocery shopping. Could you imagine....6 kids and trying to buy bananas and milk with them hanging all over you?!?!
I remember Grandpa was always around when we visited. Always giving us a big hug or telling us he loved us. He was always just so happy and proud to have the family he did. (But he would never take full credit for such a spectacular family, he always said it was because of Grandma.)
|Grandpa & Me climbing the stairs.|
Check out that sweet shag carpet!
I don't know if it was all the get-togethers, or the way we were raised, or just....because, that we are all so close. I definitely think most of it has to do with Grandpa and Grandma. There are a lot of my cousins I consider more brothers and sisters than 'cousins'. And a lot of my aunts and uncles that could be my 'parents'. I don't know if I know of another family that is as close as ours. I mean, I'm sure they're out there, but I just feel that ours is 'special'. Very special.
Grandpa was big on education. He sent all his kids to college. Most of them going to Kansas State University. I'm not sure if the 'obsession' started with his first child going there, or he was an avid fan before that. But I'll tell you, he was the biggest, baddest, longest KSU fan out there. He went to every football game, and darn near every basketball game. He's had season tickets for football for, I think, 50 years. Or close to it. He was KSU Fan Of The Year in 2007. He got to go down to the football field and get introduced on the jumbo-tron during the game. I think that was one proud moment for him.
|Grandpa & Me at a KSU Football Game.|
I met so many people at those tailgates that had known my Grandpa for years. You could just see the admiration and respect on their face when they talked to him. That's the way it was with him; if you showed him respect, he showed you respect right back. And it was hard not to admire him. He was so smart, and funny, and just plain likable. He was friends with everyone.
|Last time I saw Grandpa. April 2011|
|Grandpa James Sheik|
Born June 26, 1919
Died July 2, 2011
*Note: I want to write an extra piece to send out a HUGE thank you to my Aunts Jeannie and Linda. They have taken extremely good care of my grandparents for a number of years and without them I am positive Grandpa would not have made it as long as he did. They had a very rough time with it and I just want them to know that the entire family, and especially myself, is so grateful for all they have done.