Why I Walk: Jordan’s story
My Grandpa was good at everything. He was an endless fountain of knowledge and loved to teach. He never stopped learning or teaching. He had a personal library filled with all kinds of interesting books he’d collected over the years, and loved sitting with his grandkids to talk about them.
I learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from Grandpa. With Grandpa, family always came first–no matter what. I also learned from him that using a knife to dig out the bottom of a piece of chocolate discreetly helps you decide if you want to eat it…or put it back, seemingly untouched.
Grandpa wanted to be involved in everything. One of my favorite memories of him is his undying love of reading school papers. I used to print out my papers from college and bring them over so he could read them. Then, a week later, I would get my papers back with comments in red – he was forever a teacher.
One of Grandpa’s favorite things to do was spend time with his grand kids. Grandpa made it a point to do something unique with each grand kid to make them feel special; from collecting coins, to baseball or softball, to walks, to ski trips. Grandpa taught how to tell which coins were valuable, how to get to the front of the line for an autograph at a Giants game and that the 49ers were the only football team worth rooting for.
When my sister and I were little, Grandpa used to pull us out of school to sneak us up to Tahoe for a day of skiing. Not only did Grandpa let us skip school, but he was the only Grandpa I knew that went off the moguls and jumps!
On one of my trips to Tahoe, Grandma suggested we have dinner in Truckee at this super nice Italian place and Grandpa said “No, no it’s too expensive.” When I woke up from my nap a little while later, I asked Grandpa what we were doing for dinner and he asked what I wanted. I replied “Let’s go to that Italian place!” and Grandpa’s response? “Of course doll, anything you want.” Grandma loves this story because it really shows how much Grandpa loved us.
A few years ago, Grandma and Grandpa took the four grandkids to Scottsdale for the Giants spring training and of course, a pit stop at a museum. Because, as every grandparent knows, a vacation isn’t complete without an educational component! As we waited outside the stadium each day, we tossed a ball around with Grandpa and tried to emulate our favorite players. We also tried our hands at basketball after a Charles Barkley sighting, but Grandpa was right: we were better at baseball.
Grandpa also had some humorous tendencies that really made Grandpa, Grandpa. He used to stand in front of the TV, blocking the entire thing, which was always surprising considering how tiny he was. Then he would turn around, and say “Doll, did you see that?” Well, no Grandpa, you were blocking the whole TV! Our other favorite thing was how he ate French fries. No matter how many times we told him it was okay to eat them with his hands, he always ate them with a fork…which we tried the other night, and found it’s surprisingly difficult. No wonder he was always so skinny!
Over the past few years, Alex and I realized how lucky we were to live so close to Grandpa, seeing him almost every week. Even when the Alzheimer’s robbed his memory of the simple things, he would still light up the second he saw his grand kids. If he remembered anything in his last year, it was related to his grandchildren. It was so evident how much Grandpa loved us, even when he ran out of words to say it.
I will remember Grandpa with such fond and loving memories. Because he was the best Grandpa in the world. His memories and stories will live on thru me and my cousins as we one day, pass them on to our own children.
I love you so much Grandpa and I miss you every single day.
– Jordan, Walk to End Alzheimer’s Team Captain
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