19 February, 2008

History Lessons

Last week, I got a special Valentine's phone call from my Aunt. Well, she's actually my Great-Aunt but whatever. It was great! After all the requisite updates about jobs, home, and baby development our conversation turned to the sentimental. My Grama passed away in 1997, my Grampa (my Aunt's brother) passed away in 2006. I did have a chance to ask my Grampa lots of questions about how he and my Grama met, but reminiscing from somebody else's perspective is an adventure in itself.

So my Aunt reminded me about how my Grandparents met and told me a funny story about a deer and I'll have to skip out some details because I'm condensing and hour's worth of conversation here....

My Grama's family escaped to Canada from Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. They owned land and were quite wealthy until they were forced to vacate their home so it could be used as some sort of army headquarters. My Grampa's family had also immigrated to Canada from Russia, only they came much earlier. Grama and Grampa met at church when they were teenagers. I don't know if it was love at first sight or not, but at some point, things got serious. Grama's family did not approve of Grama dating Grampa. Since they were wealthy when they lived in Russia and still had money when they came to Canada, they considered Grampa's family socially inferior.

One of the standards of wealth then was if you could afford to buy animals and/or the latest farming equipment. Great-Grampa - my Grampa's Dad - once bartered for a horse only to have it drop dead at the watering hole as soon as he got it home. Grampa saved up and bought his own equipment after he and Grama were married. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Apparently, my Grama was quite the gutsy lady. One day she packed up her suitcase and walked downstairs to the door. She told her parents that either she was going to marry Grampa on her own terms or she was leaving and would never come back. So Grama's parents had no choice but to give her their blessing. The scandal of an only-daughter (there were 9 children, eight were boys) walking out would have been more than their social graces could bear. Shortly after that event, Grama and Grampa were married.

My Aunt and I speculated that one of the reasons Grama was so determined to marry Grampa was because she knew he would be her Knight in Shining Armour (and he certainly was handsome - even at 80-something he could still turn heads....he always had just the perfect twinkle in his eyes). When she was 14, Grama was raped by a cousin. The only person she ever told was Grampa and she made him promise to keep it a secret, which he did, until after she died. I know that Grama and Grampa had arguments sometimes but I would never doubt for a second how much they loved each other; I know Grampa would've fought for her again and again if he had to.


Another story my Aunt told me was about Bambi. Great-Grampa was driving the family home from something one afternoon. At some point along the road, he saw a doe run off into a field. At the same time, he heard a thump. He stopped the car, got out and realized he had hit a fawn. He thought, 'Well, it's meat for the dogs,' so he threw it in the trunk and brought it home. They had a breezeway attached to their home (a Summer Kitchen for those of you familiar with the term). When they got home, he realized that the fawn wasn't dead, just unconscious, so he decided to leave the fawn in the breezeway overnight and deal with it the next day.

The next morning, Great-Grama came out to fire up the stove and there
stood the fawn, looking straight at her. It was alive and just fine! Great-Grampa decided they would keep the deer and it became their pet - Bambi. Bambi went everywhere with them. He went in the house and would hide under the kitchen table - that is until the day Great-Grampa found him on their bed trying to eat the Christmas cactus that had been put, supposedly, out of Bambi's reach. Bambi would even go with the family when they went berry-picking. He would pile into the back seat of the car with the kids and ride along to the berry patch. When it was time to go, all the berries would be safely 'hidden' in the trunk before the kids called Bambi and he would come running over ready to go home.

At some point, word got around that the family had a tame deer at their place so parents would bring their children over on weekends to see the deer. Apparently there were several times when Bambi would jump in the cars of strangers ready to go for a ride!


My Aunt and I talked about a lot of other stories - good times, hard times, painful times, and times full of much joy. Mostly, we talked about God's faithfulness, at which point both of us got a little emotional. I am so blessed to have a Husband who loves me and is my Knight in Shining Armour. Even though we may be struggling with some things right now, God is in control of our future. He's already in Minnesota or Michigan or Wisconsin - or wherever it is we'll be moving next. He's always working in our marriage and in our little family, conforming us to His image; and He couldn't have reminded me of that in a sweeter way - thank you, Aunt G.!


Beth said...

Wow Bren, what great stories! Love the pet deer :)

Beck said...

A pet deer! My grandmother had a pet bear as a child and it ended up accidentally mauling her and had to be shot. There are odd family photos someplace of her as a very little toddler riding on it... I should dig them out.

Jess said...

Wow, those stories are so cool. I was never close to any of my grandparents and as a result I am totally lacking stories like that. Which is really too bad.

Kellan said...

What a sweet post about your special grandparents and their love for each other. I love the Banbie story - that is something else! You are lucky to have your sweet aunt too and your husband. I wish you all the luck in the world - take care - Kellan