Monday, January 30, 2012

Tribute To My DIY Hero

I have been absent from my blog over the past week because I have been home for an unexpected trip. My grandfather passed away Tuesday, and thankfully I was able to spend his 2 final days with him. He was 97 years old, and until 2 weeks ago, was still driving, growing his own greens, and living independently. He was an inspiration to many, but I feel priviledged to have been his grandaughter, and also to be able to carry on both his and my grandmother's knack for DIY-ing. They were DIY-ers mostly out of necessity, but also because having expensive material posessions was not what mattered most to them. Family and friends were their top priorities, and I think we all need to take a page from their book to make sure that these are our priorities as well.
 My brother, me, and Opa
My Opa (He was dutch, and this is what we called is what many Europeans use as the word for grandfather) kept a giant garden for many years, built his own work-shop behind his house, and added on an entire bathroom (while in his 70's!!). He could build just about anything, and fished for and grew most of the food that he (and we) ate.
My cousin Cathy, Opa, and me on one of his birthdays.
He made many of the furniture pieces in my grandparent's house, and I am so glad to have one of the pieces he made in my home. He was always checking on others and was more than generous with the food that he grew in his garden and the fish that he caught. He took me on long walks (in the stroller) through the neighborhood when I was little and pushed me on the swing (teaching me dutch songs) until the sun went down. He always let me "help" in the garden and in the shop, and even sometimes let me mow the lawn!

Opa's grandkids on his 96th birthday. The last pic of all of us together.
He loved his family and my Oma, and I am grateful for the time that we had with him. There will never be another one like him.


  1. Sweet Opa! I know you will miss him greatly! Sweet tribute for a sweet man!

  2. A beautifully written description and so true. I think you captured the essence of both your grandparents when you said that family and friends were their top priorities. They had so many friends and managed to make each one feel very special.
    Janet T.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather - it sounds like he was an amazing man!

  4. You have such wonderful memories of Opa and Oma! They loved their grandchildren dearly! Thanks for sharing your remembrances.


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