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Glenn and Betty Weber

My Grandma and Grandpa

By Kerry WilliamsPublished 3 years ago 15 min read
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The Webers, Circa 1960. Glenn and Elizabeth "Betty" Weber. Mary, Anne and Ethel.

This is a picture I have never seen, until this day. I was writing a shortened down version of my life, when I started really missing my Grandma and Grandpa and I went searching the internet for them. I have to say, with respect to those we have loved and lost, finding information and record on the internet is something of beauty. I cannot thank those who made this possible, enough. I also want to thank my cousin Alicia Weber, who's Facebook page was the source for this photo. Thank you so much.

Honorable and Trustworthy

My Grandfather, Glenn George Weber, was the most honest and trustworthy man anyone could know. My Grandmother, Elizabeth June Brasgalla, was amazing. This short recollection of them is in tribute to their endless love, their family, and their enduring memory.

Glenn was born March 26, 1923 in Manistique Michigan, to George and Manola (Richards) Weber. He served in the Army during World War II and worked as a switchman with the Detroit Terminal Railroad for 30 years. It was during this time that he met his wife to be, Elizabeth June Brasgalla.

In Sickness And In Health

There is a story about my grandparents meeting. See, Betty worked at or near the railroad during this same time, but she was constantly coming down with something. Whether it be a common cold, aches and pains, or a cough, it was always something. She went to the doctor repeatedly, and was told time and time again, that there was nothing wrong with her, until finally, the doctor admitted she had something and it was bad. She had a very severe case of "something" and there was really only one solution, one remedy that would cure her. The doctor told her to find a man and stop working at the train station. Reportedly, Betty went straight back to work, found the most dashing man she could and fell in love with him. That was my rugged old gramps, and he was quite smitten with her too!

Getting Married

Betty and Glen were married on December 27, 1952 in Walled Lake, Michigan and soon started their family which resulted in the couple having three daughters, Ethel, Mary, and Anne. In case anyone is wondering, Anne is my mommy. Hi mommy! I love you! Okay, back to Grandma and Grandpa.

The Family Home

As far as I know, my grandma and grandpa only ever had one house in Walled Lake Michigan. They were married in Walled Lake and they stayed in Walled Lake, until some time in the 1980's/1990's when they decided to move to Cheboygan Michigan, just a couple miles from the Mackinaw Bridge.

Their home in Walled Lake was old. When I say old, I mean, black wood shingle siding, cold and drafty during the winter, cozy and comfortable during the summer... I might be being a little generous there. :) You entered through the back of the house, which I always thought was the front of the house, I mean... who comes in the back door? But, you have to understand, their house was ON the lake. Lake Front property. The front of the house, faced the water.

The Barn

Every time we went to grandma's house, we never had to knock. We simply parked out at the barn - YEAH, they had an old cedar shingle barn that was right next to the street. My grandpa had a TON of tools and stuff in there, but, it was pretty dangerous place to go, so I wasn't allowed to go snooping in there very often. Anyways, we just parked, walked down the really long walk path across the back yard, which may or may not prove treacherous to your health and clean clothing, depending on if it rained or not, and we would walk right in.

Going Inside

As you walked in, you came into the kitchen. It was a smaller sized kitchen with shelves and cupboards everywhere. I remember the big ole potato chip tins filled with the oldest most stale chips, pretzels and cookies ever bought, but that never stopped any of us kids from asking if we could have some, and people always wondered if we were hungry. YEAH! Grandma's house always smelled like FOOD. Something was always cooking. Someone was always making something.

Past the kitchen, to the right, was a couple bedrooms and a very small bathroom with one of those huge old time tubs. At some point, a wall was removed, and the living room was expanded to become a huge great room, which was pretty awesome. On the very left hand side (right if you were looking at it from the front!) there was a set of stairs attached to the kitchen, which led downstairs into the basement! Yes, in Michigan, almost everyone has a basement, even if they live on the lake!

Back upstairs in the main living room was a big ole table which served as the main spot to eat dinner during holidays and family get togethers. A peculiar thing, positioned two steps above the floor was a non-descript door... and if you opened the door and turned the light on, you could go upstairs, into the attic. There was a LOT of space up there, and at some point, it was finished to a certain degree and additional rooms were put up there. They just don't make em' like they used to!

The Smell

I don't know about you all, but when I walked into my Grandma's house, it has a distinct smell. If I was blind folded and brought into that house, I'd be able to tell it was grandma's house. Nothing else smelled like grandma's house and grandma's house smelled better than anyone else's house, ever... that is, before the fire took it away.

When Grandma and Grandpa decided to move to Cheboygan, they didn't sell the house to strangers, or remove a piece of all our lives from the family. The house had history. That house WAS History. My aunt Mary and uncle Dan purchased the home from Grandma and Grandpa, and my cousins, Carl, Shelly and Crissy and the whole family, ended up living in that house, until, unfortunately, it was taken by a fire. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and without just cutting their losses and moving on, aunt Mary and uncle Dan kept the property and had a new house built in its place!

New, But the Memory Endures.

I know it sounds a little sentimental, and backwards, but even with the new home there, I still think of that place as my grandma and grandpas home. They didn't buy the house for the house, I mean, they did, and they didn't... They bought it for the scenery. They bought it for the lake, and the trees, and the sun lit mornings, and the amber sunsets in the evening. They lived in that home, for everything it was, and it was, them.

My grandpa retired from the Detroit railroad in 1974, the same year I was born. Coincidence? I think not. I was a handful! LOL. I'm just joking, but my grandpa and grandma lived in that house for most of their lives, and then they moved to Cheboygan. Guess what? They moved into another home which, I have to say, was VERY similar to their home in Walled Lake! The new house had a barn, lots of space, and a spacious window that looked out onto... a small pond with a little tree/island in the middle! Am I making this stuff up? Am I crazy? If I am, don't correct me. It's what I remember. LOL.

They Brought The Smell

I'm sure it wasn't the dogs, but, what exactly it was, I'll never know. Whatever it was, when grandma and grandpa moved, they took the smell with them, to their new home.

The WALL

As an Army veteran and having served in World War II, my grandfather undoubtedly had a lot of memories and stories to tell. I wished I could have sat and listened while he recounted tale after tale, but alas, we didn't get to spend a lot of time there. Some of my cousins, and obviously my mother and aunts may be able to retell a bunch of them, and I hope to add them to this story if I can. But one thing that sticks in my memory is the welcome wall at the new house.

As you walked into my grandparents new home, as usual, you walked through a small storage area with shoes and jackets, and old crates of soda pops that lost their fizz sometime in the 1960s, but then you came into... you guessed it! The KITCHEN! To the left was the kitchen and further on, a couple bedrooms. But to the right was a large blank wall, and, for some reason, everyone started writing when they first came to visit, who they were, and things of that sort. It became a weird sort of montage of peoples names, signatures, and then sayings. At one point I think my sister drew a unicorn on the wall. But what I remember the most was the little depiction of a fence or wall, with a big nosed guy peeking over, his fingers on top of the fence and his little bald head on top. The wording below said, "Killroy was here". I really never knew the significance of that until I just looked it up. Please, be my guest and do that as well. I'll wait... and then come back and I'll finish telling you about my grandma and grandpa.

Memories

I remember going to grandma and grandpas on vacation, for holidays and special events. We did Easter egg hunts in the snow a couple of years and we did one there as well. I loved the Christmas tree at their house which was one of those old ones with candles that had bubbles in them? I don't know... but it was special, nothing like our tree. Remember tinsel? Yeah, they don't make it anymore, but back then, we had tinsel.

Everything Was Different - Everything Was Special

I remember going to my grandparents house for the running of the smelt, and slogging through freezing cold water with nets, trying to catch big nets full of tiny smelt. It's a tradition that you have to bite the head off the first smelt you catch and unfortunately, one year, my cousin Carl caught a rather large sucker fish instead of a smelt... I won't tell you what happened, but you can guess. YUCK!

My mom would always take us for walks in the woods, exploring, searching out wild life and nature. By my grandparents new house, there was a set of train tracks and old old trees in the forest with huge shelf moss hanging on the trees. I remember my grandpa showing me a little plant that just looked like a weed and he told me, that's spearmint. I didn't believe him until he urged me to pick some up and chew on it. It tasted just like gum, only, it was a plant!

I remember one year, the creek was getting backed up, and my grandpa took us out to help him clear the creek. We walked for MILES, trudging along, ripping out logs and clearing debris, and then, to our amazement, as we got close to the lake, we realized there was a fallen tree and its branches had caused a great deal of a jam. I don't remember if it was my mom, or my cousin, or both that helped, but the tree was removed from the creek, and literally within a half an hour, the water was flowing so fast, it looked like a completely different creek. It carved a whole new path through the sandy shore, into the lake, and this was a big thing because, this was where the smelt were looking to swim!

I remember collecting driftwood with my mom at my grandma's house, seeing a huge water borne salamander, and messing around with ice floats and needle ice when the ice on the lake started to melt. Everything was always so special at grandma and grandpas. Everything was so different.

Grandma's programs

My grandma used to sit in a recliner with the TV remote close at hand. She had a list of programs and what she wanted to watch, and when they were on, and oh gosh, you better watch out if you switched the channel on her! LOL. My grandpa had a large seat in the back of the room and I remember many any times, Grandpa or Grandma would fall asleep in their chair, only to be woke up and told to go to bed. I got the feeling, if none of us were there visiting, they would have just slept in their chairs all night.

I remember watching Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy, and a few other shows my grandma and grandpa used to watch, but most of all, I just remember being there with them. Oh, and the crossword puzzles, and the magnifying glass... ahhh, all the board games I never knew existed because most of them didn't anymore!

More Smells, More Memories

Breakfast at grandma and grandpas was always an event and it was always the best. Breakfast at home was cereal, or maybe eggs. Oatmeal, cream of wheat, pancakes if we were lucky. Go to grandma's and you got sliced potatoes and onions, scrambled eggs with cheese and sausages piled high. Bacon and toast, jelly! They had Jelly! We never had jelly on our toast, but at grandma's, I could eat jelly non-stop.

Too Funny

Some people say their grandpa was a hard guy, or a tough guy... my grandpa was tough as nails. I remember one time, we had burgers on the grill and there was corn on the cob cooked in the fire pit, wrapped in foil. After grabbing one and eating a majority of the corn off the cob, I went to chuck it and my grandpa asked me if I was gonna finish eating it. I said I was done, and he said I better eat the rest or I wasn't going to get dessert. I looked at the cob, and didn't understand what he was saying, until he took his own cob and bit a huge chunk off of it. He chewed that shit up and swallowed it and told me, it's fiber. It keeps things moving. Now... don't go eating the cob of corn cobs just cause my grandpa did it. Yes, you can eat fiber like that, no, you cannot digest fiber like that. I chucked my corn cob in the lake (this was at Walled lake) and decided to skip dessert. I still wonder if my gramps was trying to be funny, or if he was just messing with me in his own way, but whatever the case, he was tough as nails.

Nightcrawlers

My grandpa made his own Nightcrawler extractor. It was a long metal rod, connected to a couple wires and he would plug it in to an outlet outside the house, ram the rod down into the ground and moments later worms would start wriggling to the surface of the soil and you had to snatch em up and put em in the bucket to take with you for fishing. One time I tried to pull the rod out of the ground, but I got zapped! I looked at my gramps and he said "you okay?" I said I was, and then he grabbed the damn thing and yanked it outta the ground like it was nothing. Gramps was hard as nails.

Whether it was fishing, or working, or fixing something in the shed, gramps was hard as nails, but he was never one to turn you down for anything. Need help? He was there. Doing something silly? He would participate. My gramps was the best. He was always there to save the day, and no matter what it was, no matter what, gramps knew what to do.

Handyman

Grandpa has a washing machine that had stopped working. So he rigged a small engine to it, I think a lawnmower engine, and attached it to the wash drum. The washer did everything except spin the clothes, so when it was time, he would go out, pull the cord, engage the belt and spin that sucker at like a hundred RPM! My mom told me about this. Said it was the craziest thing she ever saw, and when the spin was done, the clothes came out and they were so dry, all you had to do was toss em in the dryer for like 5 minutes on air fluff to finish em up.

Oh My!

My grandpa... I didn't know he was in World War II, until years later. I thought he only worked on the train yard. When I was in my teens, my grandpa gave me a set of hand signal flags from the trainyard and told me a story about a guy who was a switch operator who got hit by a hook and knocked off the train. His arm, which had been hooked over a ladder rung, was left on the train. The guy ran up, pulled the switch, ran back to the train, climbed up using his one arm, and then jumped off at the next stop and ran to the hospital to see if they could sew his arm back on.

Not Impressed

My dad, who was big into guns, hand guns and otherwise, always brought a briefcase filled with handguns with him, everywhere we went. This is about gramps, not my dad, but I needed to put some background here. My dad had just bought a super powerful Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum hand gun and was showing it off and asked my grampa if he wanted to go shoot it and see what it was like. My grandpa agreed.

They went out and found a bunch of huge stumps in the woods to fire at, and my dad squeezed off a round or two and then handed the gun to gramps. Gramps took it and unloaded it, firing all the remaining shells like it was nothing, and then handed the gun back to my dad and shrugged. "Its got a little kick. Nice." My dad never brought guns up to gramps or tried to impress him after that. I guess my gramps had quite enough experience firing guns during WORLD WAR II. Hard as nails gramps. Hard as nails.

As Good As It Gets

Visiting grandma and grandpa was always a good time. If nothing else, it was a trip down memory lane, a flash back to times better and more grand than anything we knew. Simpler times. Honest times. Oh my gosh... Avon... that's all I'm gonna say. Avon and Mash. Good times. Good times.

Gone, But Never Gone

My grandma passed in 1992, the same year I graduated from high school. As always, my grandpa stuck around to make sure everyone was going to be okay, that they would survive, and to protect us, and take care of us, until we needed to do the same for him. Grandpa passed away in 2011 and joined grandma in the stars. I am one hundred percent sure, as soon as he walked through those pearly gates, he took one look at her and said "God Bless it Betty! I told you wait for me!"

Grandma was great. Gramps was the best. The best father and grandfather any of us could have ever asked for. The epitome of what we should all strive to be. Honest, hard working, selfless, caring, considerate, brave, and above all, he was mine. My gramps. Only a couple people can say that besides me.

Thank You

Grandma and Grandpa, I want to say thank you. Thank you for being there for us, and teaching your children, our moms, to be the people they are today. Thank you for teaching them the difference between right and wrong, even though we may have grumbled about that from time to time. Thank you for instilling in them, a sense of wonder, a sense of pride, and above all, goodness and the will to do good for all those around them. Thank you because, without you, they would not be who they are, and neither would we.

At this time, all your children are still here, still going strong, still carrying on just as you would have it. Please rest easy, knowing your children, Ethel, Mary and Anne, have worked hard to do, as you did. Caring, guiding, teaching, and being supportive of their own children. You did well. You did, exceptionally well.

From the deepest place in our hearts, your grand children thank you. We miss you both. We will remember you always, and from time to time, when we need you the most, we will think of you, and you will be with us in our hearts. We hope you have happiness in your soul for all of us, and watch us as we do great things and accomplish even greater things as time goes on.

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa. Thank you.

grandparents
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About the Creator

Kerry Williams

It's been ten days

The longest days. Dry, stinking, greasy days

I've been trying something new

The angels in white linens keep checking in

Is there anything you need?

No

Anything?

No

Thank you sir.

I sit

waiting

Tyler? Is that you?

No

I am... Cornelius.

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