Posts Tagged ‘Grampo’

Missing Grampo

February 10, 2014
My sister Cyn and me with our beloved Grampo

My sister Cyn and me with our beloved Grampo




Ortonville.

One word. A lifetime of memories. Ortonville is the small Minnesota town where my dad grew up and where our family went to visit his parents—Grammo and Grampo to my sister, Cyn, and me—for most holidays and just because, year after year after year. It was a second home to us.



I still get the Ortonville Independent in the mail, the newspaper that’s been run by the Kaercher family for three generations. Jimmy Kaercher is around my mom’s age and still writes a weekly column. His daughter, Sue, recently took over the reins of day-to-day operations.

In the January 28, 2014 issue, Sue wrote in her column, Sue’s Muse:

Another building is gone from Ortonville’s main street. The old brick building that stood on the northeast corner of Second Street and Jackson Avenue was leveled early Saturday morning. The building, which had been vacant for decades, was owned by the EDA after it went to the county in back taxes. Bricks were falling off it, windows were broken and the roof was in need of repair. It had become dangerous.

That doesn’t make it any easier to see it come down. It was a landmark to the community, part of the town’s identity. The building was referred to as the “Odd Fellows” building because it was built to house the meeting room for the Odd Fellows fraternal organization.


At this point, I had lost interest in the story because I didn’t know what building Sue was referring to. Just before I tossed the paper in the recycling, I glanced at the next paragraph and (more…)

Grateful for Grampo

December 30, 2011

Grampo and me

Forty years ago today I was in the kitchen when the phone rang. It was the V.A. Hospital, letting us know that my dad’s father, whom my sister and I affectionally called Grampo, had died. He was seventy-six and had been suffering from dementia for a number of months. I rode the two-plus hours to Ortonville with my dad to break the news to his mom. It was the first time I ever saw Grammo cry.

Four days earlier, in his hospital room, Grampo had given my sister and (more…)

The Last Smile

April 20, 2011

Cyn and I help Grampo celebrate his 64th birthday, fifty-two years ago today

It was the day after Christmas, 1971. I was fourteen and my sister, Cyn, was fifteen. Our family was at the Vets Hospital visiting Grampo, my dad’s father, who had spiraled into dementia after undergoing double-cataract surgery months earlier.

Our beloved Grampo was sitting in a wheelchair in his room, staring vacantly ahead. My sister and I were sitting patiently on his bed, waiting to go home. It had been a long time since Grampo had recognized any of us or demonstrated that any trace of the Grampo we knew and loved was still “in there.”

Suddenly, Grampo turned to look at Cyn and me . . . (more…)