Margaret Mary and Alvin George Henry.

Of course I miss them, and I do think they passed too soon, but I now think of them and smile. It’s been a little more than 19.5 years since we lost them, first grandma and then grandpa about five months later.

My grandma was one of seven children, four girls and three boys. My grandpa’s full brother died when he was 2 or 3 years old (diphtheria), and it was only he and his half-brother living with his step-mother at the time.

They eloped in July 1940. I don’t really know the reason for the elopement, except that it wasn’t a pregnancy. Grandma wore a red dress to the court house, and they both returned to their own homes that evening. They didn’t announce that they were married until the next day at my great-grandparents’ dinner table.

Public display of affection by my grandparents - a rare occurrence.They’re pictured here in what was a rare thing for me to see. A public and physical display of affection. They loved each other, and that was very evident in the way they communicated. There were minor disagreements here and there, but I never saw a real fight between them. I had plenty of opportunity to witness this because I lived in their house with my dad for 7 years.

So from the time I was 7 years old, I saw grown children living with their parents as normal. I currently have three grown children (plus another, who we consider a son at this point) living with us. Three are going to university just downtown and the fourth, one of my twin first-born sons, is here to pay some things off so he can afford an apartment in this part of the country where rent is obscenely high. My dad was living with his parents to save money as well as to provide me with a stable, loving home to grow up in.

My grandmother was a mother figure to me from the time I was 7 to 14 years old. I was sad that she didn’t live to see her fourth great-grandchild born. She died just two months before my youngest, whose middle name is Margaret, was born. I was able to take her to meet her great-grandfather in the nursing home and to tell him her name. He died three months later.

I used to think of them and cry. Now I think of them and smile.

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