Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Sweet Goodbye

I believe I mentioned a few posts ago that the mums and I were traveling last week. We drove down to SoCal for my great-grandpa’s memorial. It was a really interesting time because I came away with a heightened desire to know my extended family better. It was lovely to see all of great-grandpa’s friends come to pay their respects, sharing stories and a drink about the good times they had spent together.

My great-grandpa Reid came from Scotland and was a butcher until he and my mum’s dad, my grandpa Lary, opened an appliance store in downtown Ventura. While they did sell it when I was born, the name Reid’s Appliances today is still synonymous with quality products. I didn’t know my great-grandpa like my mums did, she has so many wonderful childhood memories with him that she cherishes, but I have a few and some of the stories I heard from the memorial weekend I will treasure forever.

Grandpa was a big strong guy, I mean he was a butcher for crying out loud, built kinda like Rocky except as a Scot, not an Italian. Apparently when Gramps was 70 years old he was still in pretty amazing shape…to the point where when he caught someone stealing a TV in the back alley behind the store, he chased him on foot for over a mile and once he caught up with him, beat the ever living tar out of his hide used that force which was necessary to overcome his illegal resistance.

I can remember playing on the floor as a little kid with dolls and blocks at Christmas time, and my great-grandpa Reid getting down on the floor and playing with me. He’d jump up and down like it was no big deal. I was amazed, even as a child because my grandpa didn’t pop up and down like that…I mean, great-grandpa was OLD!

He was a scratch golfer, which apparently means he was really, really good. He was ridiculous because invariably he wore tartan pants, his spindly calves sticking out below in bright red socks. But since he was such a pro, people didn’t make fun of him….to his face at least!

                      Great Grandpa and Grandma Reid on the day of their wedding

But all of this is to say, family is important and I’m just now realizing how important. I grew up around my grandparents and was very close with them, but when I was 8 we moved to Scotland and so I lost some of that.

I don’t regret moving at all just FYI, and my grandparents did come visit as often as possible.

Today technology makes staying in contact much easier. I can zip them an email or call on the phone (no long distance charges here!) or even get in my car and be there in time for dinner.

This renewed desire to really understand, know and love my extended family is a blessing, I believe. You learn surprising things about yourself and character when you know your grandparents. And really, isn’t it fun to be friend’s with them? I’m writing the stories down now, so they’re not lost to memory, and cherishing the moments I get to spend in my grandparent’s company…it’s exciting to have a relationship with your family as an adult, don’t you think?

Are you close with your extended family? Grandparents, aunts and uncles or cousins? Did you grow up in a big, noisy, extended family that got together for every and any excuse possible? Or was the family of your parents and siblings the only family you know? Or if just the word "family" churns your stomach and brings up sad and unwanted memories, then I can't tell you how really sorry I am. And hope you make your own...pick the friends that mean so much to you and create your own family with new memories. Share a story with us in the comments about a crazy, wacky family member or beloved memory; I’d love to hear it!

xo xo Liz 


  1. We have a huge family. Lots and lots of cousins, and the more we get together the more cousins or far off relatives we discover we have. I'd say I'm jealous you knew your great-grandparents, but that's not really the right word, maybe envy. Im 10 yrs younger than my sister, so my parents are fairly old, making all of my older family all that much older than me. My sister was the only one who knew our great-grandmothers and I don't think she even knew our great-grandfathers. But since I came along so late, 3 of my 4 grandparents passed away while I was in highschool. All 3 within 1-2 years of each other. I don't feel like I got the chance to know them well. One grandpa was just hard set and difficult, until his last few years, the other was just simply quiet. My grandma had Alzheimer's so talking with her was always confusing. They all had lots of siblings, and they too have all passed. I have one grandma left, and I've started asking more about who she was and where she came from. Her papa was a river boat gambler and I never knew that! Family is sooo amazing, and so important, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so much of the older generation.

    And sorry for this super looong comment :)

  2. Don't be sorry, this was awesome!!! I lOVE hearing about other people's families, it's so interesting! And I didn't know you were a late lamb, how fun to be the baby of the family but I can also see how hard that would be to have everyone so much older. That's such a neat dynamic to come from a big family, when my mums was a little girl (an only child) she desperately wanted a big, huge family when she grew up. Adrian and I don't really make a "huge" family per say, but we sure are noisy! HAHAHAHA That's incredible your grandpa was a river boat gambler, bet there's some totally awesome pictures somewhere!!

    Thanks so much for sharing a little of your family history with me :)