When you lose a person you love there are so many memories and sweet things that just cannot be captured and communicated through writing. At least not through my writing. What follows is my weak attempt to write a small remembrance of someone whom I loved dearly and who had a profound impact on my life.
Two weeks ago today my maternal grandfather, Augustus Frederick Frick died. I miss him terribly, for even though we have rarely lived in the same state let alone the same town, we were close. We managed to see each other frequently and we wrote and talked often with each other. He and my grandmother, even though in their eighties, have travelled down to Texas several times since Jay and I were married to visit with the grand and greatgrandkids. And, despite an 83+ year distance in their ages and an 1800 mile distance between their residences my children, especially my oldest, Abigail got the opportunity to know and love him in these last years of his life.
Given I was the first grandchild of my generation in our family I guess I was given the honor of “naming” my grandparents and I dubbed them “Lolly and Pa” at a very tender age. No one knows to this day where I came up with their nicknames but they have been used affectionately ever since by many family members. The year I turned five Lolly and Pa retired up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and built themselves a lovely ranch home which managed to house an enormous amount of family over the years. When I was a youngster our summer vacations almost always included a visit up there to stay with them. Since I moved fairly frequently as a child, and even lived overseas for a while, it was very comforting to have the continuity of spending some of my summer each year with Lolly and Pa and enjoying the wonderful beaches in Chatham. I am really thankful for this part of my childhood and for the wonderful memories I have of those times.
My grandfather, though officially named Augustus, went by Bob for most of his life. He was given the nickname Bobbie even before he entered school because he evidently had a habit of singing “Bobbie Shaftoe’s Gone to Sea”. Gentle, dignified, and full of good humor, he had a sparkle in his eyes and a song on his lips much of the time. A few years after graduating from Princeton University, he met and married Jeanne Allen. Not long after, he went off to serve with our country’s naval forces in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War. He earned a Purple Heart for his injuries sustained when Kamikazi aircraft attacked and damaged the aircraft carrier he was stationed on. When the conflict with Korea began he reenlisted with the Navy and served his country again faithfully. Though he would rarely speak of those wartime experiences I am very proud of him for his loyalty and for what he gave in helping to preserve our freedoms. I am also immensely grateful God brought him back safely from both wars.
Through his life Pa enjoyed a successful career at Prudential. He was very involved with his church from teaching Sunday School to singing bass in the choir, to serving on the deaconate board. I can recall that he kept himself fit by playing tennis and golfing and even into his seventies he would take daily early morning bike rides. One of the things I remember with much appreciation are his beautiful gardens. How I wish I’d inherited his green thumb! We enjoyed so many wonderful vegetables and berries grown under his watchful care.
All told, Pa and Lolly were blessed with over 61 years of marriage together and it was quite evident to all who knew them that he absolutely adored her. They were the proud parents of three children, and lived to enjoy seven grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren. His was a rich life, full of evidences of God’s grace and care and blessing. I am grateful especially for what Pa’s life has meant to me and my siblings. As I grieve over his passing, it is interesting to me how I greatly miss the little things, like being able to pick up the phone and hear his cheerful voice. Such a thought easily brings tears these days. Yet in the midst of my weeping, I know that to sorrow over Pa means that he was a wonderful part of my life and the lives of those I love. And for this I am grateful.
Though we all miss Pa, no one is more affected right now than his wife, my grandmother, Lolly, who ironically today is celebrating her 86th birthday. She is adjusting to being a widow after sharing most of her life with this wonderful man. If you think of it in the days, weeks and months ahead, please pray for her, that she will be given comfort and strength to carry on, and that in time she will be able to adapt to this new way of life.