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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

March 3, 2013

What follows, is a collaborative effort between my brother (Trip), my cousin (Cameron), and myself…with input, of course, from my mother (Leigh) and aunt (Jamie).

Our grandparents spent the last 30 years making sure we learned all the most important lessons…how essential a bar of Toblerone is; that “it never rains on the golf course;” how to find a stud in the wall; how to make pigs in a blanket; that artwork is always messy, and always imperfect; and the importance of Dr. Seuss…among other things.

We spent many nights sleeping in Grandma and Grandpa’s guest room, all three of us (Cameron, Trip and Cristin) snuggled up listening to Grandma or Grandpa read us a Dr. Seuss book…they had the complete collection. Dr. Seuss was the perfect blend of our grandparents. He was creative and silly, as our grandmother; and smart-witted and quick with encouragement, like Grandpa. And, while I don’t know why this is the case, the following quote, reminds me of those many nights, and the years that followed…perhaps it is because our grandparents couldn’t have been more proud or excited about what each of us had chosen to do with our lives, and how different (and yet similar) we are:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

– Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Our grandparents died one week apart, to the hour. It was peaceful, romantic, and we’re fairly certain, the way they wanted to go. For our grandmother, it was after two years of severe Alzheimer’s disease; and for our grandfather, it was after four months of fighting through pancreatic cancer. However, these are not the selves that they would wish for us to remember. And so, in an earnest attempt to send them off knowing we remember them at their best, we have compiled a list of our favorite memories. Without further ado, and in no particular order:

– Grandpa had a love affair with anything and everything that was green. Except for the green that ended up on his dinner plate.

– We don’t know whether to call it organization or a touch of OCD, but Grandma had a lovely habit of folding aluminum foil (washed and dried from a previous use) into tiny little squares, making sure the creases were crisp by running the back of her fingernail across them.  She’d then put these folded pieces of treasure back into the drawer for a later use. She also insisted on cutting cereal boxes in half, fashioning a new cardboard closure mechanism, and stacking them one on top of the other, to save space in cabinets.

– Our grandfather’s favorite goodnight quip: “Goodnight, shirt.

– Grandma’s favorite coffee was French Vanilla, but only from gas station coffee machines (the button kind, if it ever came out of an actual coffee pot, she wouldn’t touch it)…and she insisted on bringing the same paper cup (washed of course) back to the gas station for refills…it saves $0.10, oh, and the environment.

– Grandpa bought a putter for a penny, and used it until he stopped golfing (that’s fifty some-odd years!)

– Our grandmother was the only person we knew who could make a half can of Coke last three days. We’d find them in the fridge, with an appropriately sized straw (yes, she’d cut them too) and a small piece of aluminum foil covering the opening.

– We spent quite a bit of time in Amelia Island, FL, where our grandparents had a condo looking out of the golf course. There are a number of fond memories there, and they follow below:

  1. – Sally the squirrel, who our grandmother insisted on feeding peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to every morning. Sally loved ‘em…she’d sit and wait outside for grandma to come out with brunch.
  1. – We used to take old school bikes and ride along the boardwalk to the “General Store,” where we’d buy ungodly amounts of gum (#sorryma, #notsorry) and stockpile them in brown paper bags in our rooms
  1.  – Grandma and Grandpa used to take us on nightly walks on the beach, just at dusk, and we’d look for sharks teeth…Jamie and Leigh were the best at finding these…we rarely found any that weren’t kicked towards us by those two.
  1.          – 

– Our grandmother was an exceptional artist (we’ll post some of her paintings), but she insisted on using little, crummy, crumpled pieces of paper for much of her artwork.

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– Grandpa and his Playboy Bunny (see below)

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– Grandpa and the Bunny he adored for over 60 years. (Our grandmother’s nickname was “Bun”)

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– Grandma always enjoyed being part of the group…even if she wasn’t really supposed to be. Our best evidence of this is seen in the picture below (coming soon!), taken at Cameron’s fraternity house. It was supposed to be a picture of all the fraternity brothers…somehow Grandma snuck in: “Who’s that lady in the picture next to Chad? A famous Phi Kap?” Nope…just Grandma.

– Grandpa’s Hole-in-One at Essex County Country Club in West Orange, NJ

– Grandma’s love of plastic rain hats…as in the kind given out at the dry cleaners.

– Grandpa’s Christmas bathrobe – worn every Christmas for the purpose of present opening and the making of Grandpa eggs.

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– Grandma’s Hole-in-One

– When helping with homework, Grandpa always would begin by saying, “First, get a BIG piece of paper,” which was ironic given his minute henscratch on itty-bitty pieces of paper.

– Grandma, likely due to being a child of the Depression, was always saving new things (purses, shoes, table linens, etc) for “good” events (which may or may not have ever come)…and as a result, she left approximately 1,000 pairs of perfect kid gloves and a multitude of spotless placemats.

– “No lunch, no nap, no swim.”

This is written with love, admiration and the deepest gratitude, in honor of our grandparents:

       Evelyn “Bun” Grace Cameron Hunziker  July 23, 1923 – February 22, 2013

       Frederick “Freddie” Louis Hunziker   December 15, 1922  – March 1, 2013

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