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Thursday, 01 June 2017 19:29

A Letter to Grandson Upon on Graduation Day

Dear Elliot,

How did this happen? It seems like yesterday when I first held you in my arms and smiled down at your beautiful, little face.  Now, eighteen years later, I have to stand on tiptoe to give you a hug and a kiss on the cheek! You have grown into a wonderful, handsome young man who is preparing to leave home for college. It's unbelievable how quickly time goes by.

Do you remember the times you spent with me when you were just a toddler? At that time, you loved dogs more than anything in the world. I remember you reaching up on my shelf and removing the collie I had painstakingly molded out of clay. At first, I held my breath, hoping you would not break it. As the day progressed, and I realized how much you loved that little dog, I decided it should be yours. You took it home with you. A few days later when you accidentally broke it, your dad called to tell me how upset you were. I immediately made two or three more so there would always be another replacement. One of those replacement collies is sitting on the mantel in the bedroom you shared with your sister, Sophie. It is a daily reminder of the many happy days we have shared.

I'll never forget the day when you were in preschool and a man dressed as an Indian came to talk about Thanksgiving. When you saw his bow and arrow, you fled the classroom screaming because you were afraid he had come to kill the animals. You recovered. By the next Thanksgiving, you were brave enough to wear an Indian headdress you had made in school and perform the short Thanksgiving play we created for your parents and Grandpa Jim.

Do you remember sitting on your big wheel in the portable pool on my back deck, while singing at the top of your lungs with Sophie?  Or the time we walked around my yard on St. Patrick's Day looking for the leprechaun? One of my fondest memories is our first trip to Disney World. Did you know I cried when Jiminy Cricket sang "When You Wish upon a Star" and I saw the fireworks reflected in your enchanted eyes?  Remember when you went with us and helped pick out Ozzie from the litter of newborn puppies? That is when you decided to become a  'beterinarian' someday.

I stood in the background and watched as your mom and dad walked you through the doors on your fist day of school. Your mother went home and cried the rest of the day. It is very difficult to watch your first-born go to school for the first time. It is equally hard to see him head off to college. I have several pictures of you and Jimmy Moore when you became fast-friends in kindergarten. I am grateful that friendship has continued for all of these years and you are now heading off to IUP together. I believe you will remain true friends for life.

Over the years, we have celebrated your birthday in many ways but my fondest memory is the year we gave you your first four-wheeler. The expression on your face when you saw it sitting in the driveway was priceless.  You fearlessly drove it all over the yard for hours!

Christmas Eve at our house, has always been my favorite holiday. You were mesmerized the first time you watched Santa climb down the chimney and into the lighted Christmas house on my hall table. You wanted to listen to him say, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good-night" over and over. That magical house has entertained you, Sophie and Truman for eighteen years. I do not need a photo to recapture that moment because it is forever etched in my memory.

Making cookies together is one of my other favorite Christmas memories. By the time we were finished rolling the sugar cookies and decorating them, it seemed as if there was more flour on the floor and all over your faces than there was in the cookies!  Then there were the gifts. What joy to see your face the time you received your first guitar and began your young singing career! We still have the tapes of the songs you wrote and recorded. I have also saved the stories you wrote in your youth. I hope someday you will pursue writing again.  As your kindergarten teacher recently reminded me, you have a gift for writing.

When you started seventh grade, your interests changed, and you did not spend as much time at Nonny's house. I understood that. Thank heavens there was Sophie and Truman to fill that void.  Occasionally you brightened my day by bringing a group of friends over to play ball in our yard and climb the huge trees out front. A few times, I silently prayed no one would fall from the top of the tree.

 I was very proud when you were chosen King of the Dance of the ninth-grade dance. What started as backyard basketball with your friends, turned into a sport in which you excelled in junior and senior high school. I loved going to your games and watching you play―you made me very proud. Taking pictures of you and your lovely prom date in front of my fireplace also brought me great joy―and some sadness. I knew the day that you would be graduating and leaving for college was not far away.

Of all of the memories I have of the past, my very favorite ones are the times when you come over and sit on my porch while we have a heart-to heart conversation. I hope those times will always continue because that is when I feel closest to you.

Today is your graduation day. You will soon be flying out of the nest and into your future. As you travel down the road of life, please remember these words-

  • To be happy and successful in life, you need to believe in yourself and have the self-confidence to make the right decisions.
  • Everyone makes some wrong turns on the road of life. The successful person is the one who can recognize that, and remedy the situation by turning back to the main road.
  • Life is what YOU make it. Set realistic goals with a solid plan to attain them and you will be happy man.

I am very proud you are my grandson, Elliot and I believe you have what it takes to lead a happy and successful life. My love and prayers will be with you always.

With all my love,


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