Grandma and Grandpa Becker were people of action more than words. Not that they didn’t have much to say. They just chose their words carefully and needed only a few to convey much.
As their oldest grandson, I visited them during the summer when I was growing up in the late ‘50s. I always talked Grandma into letting me sleep in the screened in porch on the east side of their home. Shaded by tall elm trees, this was the coolest place to sleep on those warm summer nights before air conditioning. The porch was right next to my grandparents’ room and I felt safe and slept like a log.
Their morning activities would always wake me and the longest conversations of their day took place over black coffee with bacon and eggs. A large, black Zenith AM radio provided the news and weather of the upcoming day.
I’d just lie there comfortably in my bed soaking up the sounds. I knew Grandma would cook me my own special breakfast at a more reasonable kid-visiting-his-grandparents hour.
My Grandpa Bert was a tall, slender man with kind eyes and a rich baritone voice that invited attention and respect. During those early-morning conversations with Grandma Rose, he spoke with a gentleness that was unlike any other time or place.
While I didn’t really think of it back then, I just remember I loved listening to them visit and appreciated how my Grandpa talked to my Grandma like no one else.
Today I understand what I was listening to were conversations between a woman and a man who had truly become one.
Grandpa always respected and took care of Grandma’s every need. She cheerfully and willingly gave back all she received.
My Grandpa Bert was a veteran of World War I who saw action in France. He died nearly 25 years before Grandma Rose. His later years were difficult and he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. I also believe ghosts from those brothers in arms who didn’t return home with him weighed heavy on his soul.
Still, I never heard him complain. Grandma and my mother loved and cared for him when he couldn’t do so for himself.
I have always considered myself fortunate to have inherited some of the attributes of the Becker family – cheerfulness, perseverance, a willingness to think and work smart and the ability to enjoy and appreciate others.
Having Becker blood also meant you had family and good friends willing to stand by your side during the best and worst of times. And while your living might be hard-earned – your life would be nothing less than rich.