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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Grandpa on the farm

Uploaded: Jan 5, 2019
My grandfather recently passed away. He only lived 2 hours away, but visiting him always felt like we were traveling back in time.

He lived on a farm in a very small town. Growing up my mother told me how the men used to raise their coffee cups in the air for the women to fill. And that the men and women ate in shifts- the men ate first and then the women ate. Thankfully my mom and aunt modernized these practices quickly.

My grandfather loved fishing, hunting, gardening and playing cards with his family. During our visits to his farm, I did not spend a lot of time with him. Sometimes I was in the kitchen with my aunt, grandmother and mom. Other times I was out shooting rockets, climbing trees and looking for deer and turkeys with my dad and brother.

Although I didn’t spend a lot of time with my grandfather, he taught me three very important lessons that I will pass on to our children.

1. Don’t take your health for granted. My grandfather was diagnosed with polio in 1950. He constantly struggled to stand up, walk around, and do everyday things. Seeing him suffer reminded me just how lucky I was to be living without chronic pain.

2. The value of an education. My grandfather did not go to college and my grandmother did not go to high school. When I was a kid, it was clear that they truly valued my and my cousins’ education. And that they were very excited and proud to see me go off to college and graduate school. My grandparents rarely left their community, but they valued an education so much that they would travel out of state for graduations.

3. Enjoy time with family. When I think about my grandfather, I think about him playing sheepshead with a table full of relatives and talking about his hunting and fishing adventures. Even when he couldn’t hear well. Even when he was in pain. My grandfather found happiness simply by being surrounded by people who loved him.
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Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jan 5, 2019 at 7:50 pm

Thank you for reminding me of a lovely memory of meals with extended family. I had an aunt and uncle with a large family and quite a small kitchen/dining space and when we visited there were usually grandparents there also. It meant that meals were usually staggered. As my boy cousins were a fair bit older the men were seated first, food put on their plates and the rest was kept warm for the ladies. The men ate their food and quickly vacated the space so that we ladies could sit and eat (I was probably in the 8 - 12 years range) and felt very grown up with my girl cousins and sister. The men by this time went off doing menlike things while we sat around the table for a long time with family gossip and lots of laughter before we cleared away the dishes. I always thought we got the best part of the deal as we could have seconds and could take our time while the men just ate and ran. It never occurred to me that this was a strange way to do it, but I always loved my visits there because of this unusual to me eating arrangement.

Thanks for the memory.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4- What a nice memory. Thanks for sharing!

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