by J.C. Hanks
The true story of my grandparent's long-lived love and the times they lived through.
|Frank & June
A True Love Story
I've promised myself for years that I'd get their book published. That hasn't happened yet. So the best I can do for the moment is to get their story out there, somehow as a tribute.
I had the great fortune and honor to be able to live with my paternal grandparents during bouts of poverty while attending college, and to provide them support and love during the last days of their lives. On the surface, my grandmother June seemed to be rather cold and uncaring. My grandfather, Frank (a.ka. Pop) was the total opposite, he loved having kids around and was always ready for a hug and a peck on the cheek. Pop was also cantankerous, brutally honest (at least with me) and ornery, and he was the best teacher I've ever had. Pop had patience and taught all of us grandkids (us two girls and our little brother) to use a saw, hammer, nails, a vise, wrenches, and build birdhouses. He was vocal and open about his views, and most of his life.
Grandma was harder to get to know. She delighted in beating me at the card game of Concentration. She never just let us win any game. Not that she rubbed our noses in it, but she had pride in her mental abilities and rightly so. Had she been born to a later generation I have no doubts that Grandma would have held a doctorate in Math or one of the sciences. It was my greatest joy to have her forget who I was when her Alzheimer's was first kicking in. Apparently I looked just like one of her beloved cousins (she was the only girl) and she'd sit with me and tell me stories for hours...thinking we were at her family's farm, or her parent's house and somewhere back in time. I learned all about their courtship this way, and lucky for me Pop was fully cognizant and could confirm her stories.
So, this piece, whatever it turns out to be, is all about their lives, before, during and after their marriage. They almost made it to 70 years. Grandma died a few weeks short of her 93rd birthday, devastating Pop in the process. He made it through several more years, dying at the age of 98 or 99...that's an entire story onto itself...but he'd made it to the year 2000. An amazing feat for for anyone, especially someone with only a 6th Grade education.