Bridget’s Essay Nomination

We wanted to share a few highlights with you from Bridget’s nomination of Joseph and Ann, or Papa and Mimi as she calls them:

“My grandparents both turned 90 this year, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at them. They live independently in the same house, a post-WWII white colonial with black shutters and a Virgin Mary statue in front, on the island (Grosse Ile, MI) where my family and I have made the hour drive to for just about every Thanksgiving and Christmas of my life…These past few years haven’t been easy for my grandparents, but they haven’t let it slow them down. It started my junior year of high school when Mimi was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have her breast removed. Like a champion, she conquered the cancer and the strength she displayed in her battle inspired me to write a hero speech about her for one of my classes. Then my junior year at Miami Papa was rushed to the hospital after feeling dizzy after doing too much yard work. He ended up having to have a pacemaker put in. Even though the procedure was very serious and his physical condition was not great, when I visited him in the hospital he was still telling his old corny jokes with a big smile on his face.

It doesn’t take much to make my grandparents happy…

They have a deep faith and believe God filled the world with good things and good people. Being around family always puts them in their best of spirits. Due to that, I’ve learned from them the importance of family. I never turn down an opportunity to go visit with my grandparents because I know they won’t be around forever, and want to spend as much time as possible with them. I’ve also come to understand that they have a great wealth of knowledge and a life full of memories that are more significant and interesting than anything I could read in a book…

Whenever I’m on a road trip with Mimi I always ask her about life back in the old country, meaning Hungary. Although she came to America as a baby, her mother kept in close contact with her European relatives. She loves to tell stories about my great uncles and their struggles under communist rule. How they lost their farms and ended up in prison, but refused to give up. I also love to hear her talk about her father, who came to America with almost nothing, but with his many trade skills and knowledge of many languages built a solid life for his family even through the Depression. How she and her two siblings got by with almost no toys and survived paddle wielding nuns and long walks in the cold snow to and from school. It makes me realize how good I have it, but has also inspired me to write her stories down so they can be preserved for me to tell my children, too…

Saying goodbye to my grandparents is a long process both over the phone and in person. On the phone, it’s a minute long back and forth full of “I love you,” “I miss you,” “I’ll see you soon,” and finally “Goodbye!” In person, it begins with a giant bear hug from Papa with a reminder of how proud he is of me, followed by a kiss on the cheek from Mimi with a reminder of how much she loves me. After they leave, and they toot the car horn twice goodbye, I always feel like I should be the one saying that to them. For it seems like with each passing year, I do become increasingly prouder of them and appreciate and love all that they have taught me that much more.

I know my grandparents truly are the most amazing people, and I hope this essay has shown you that as well.”

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