Hello Everyone - I don't have a card or paper creation for you today, instead I have a post about my beautiful grandfather that we lost this week. When I was a very little girl, my older cousin (by 4yrs) accidentally called Grandfather....Grandfella. Being younger, I cut off the 'grand' part and simply called him Fella and then corrupted my little brother to do the same (we were the youngest of the grandchildren). From then on he was always Fella to us - which he told me many, many years ago that he liked because he didn't feel so old.
Born in 1918, he lived a long, good and happy life although the early years were tough through the Great Depression and then World War II, he found and married the love of his life in 1942. Grandma and Fella were married 74 1/2yrs at the time of his passing and he told her until the day he died that he loved her - had loved her all his life and would love her forever. What a beautiful testament to the life they shared.
He was kind, sweet, humble and gentle soul. Never one to draw attention to himself or to make a fuss and whose advice on life was to 'always do the right thing, try not to be intolerant of others and to have a loving relationship with your family'. It was the kind of man he was.
We lived in another town when I was little but have great memories of visiting during the holidays - or when they came to visit us out in the country. I would cry so hard when they had to leave that many times I tried to stowaway - even packing my little suitcase and stash it in their car! We later moved to the town they lived in and they were there to share moments like graduation, getting our first jobs and it was Fella who took me to get my Driver's Licence and the first to know I'd passed.
As I grew older I took a great interest in genealogy - quite likely due to the stories my grandparents would tell and teamed up with a lady in another part of the family tree and between us we wrote a book about Fella's family (his great-grandfather) and how they settled in Australia and grew. We organised a family reunion in 2003 and my grandparents joined my mother, my aunt, my 1yr old son and I as we traveled interstate for this huge occasion. We used to laugh that we were like the Mafia, 6 of us piling into a big black van and driving all over the place. We had the best time connecting with family, seeing the house his father grew up in and other landmarks around the place. On that occasion, Fella was the oldest member of the extended family and my son was the youngest - we even made it into the local paper. Such memories....
I have always been particularly close to my grandparents and two of my three children are named after them. I would sit for hours, listening to their stories, making notes so I could pass them on to my children, pouring over all photographs and trying to imagine growing up in a completely different time to my own. He would tell me things like being too poor during the Depression to afford a penny ice-cream - so he made up for it later in his life. Of a time when he was young that a car would drive past and everyone would run out into the street to watch because it was so rare and how the love of the sport of cricket would have him and his father walking into town just so they could listen to the broadcast of the cricket on the 'wireless' in the shop window - and they weren't alone as many would join them. Fella loved cricket and played as a young man - he would often tell how one game he took all 10 wickets as a spin bowler. Today my two sons also play and he would take the credit that it was his genes that influenced the younger generation. He was so pleased to know that the passion for the game is in these two and would enjoy getting updates on how they were doing. But he also took great pride in all his family in their chosen sport, hobby, work or interest and Grandma would say that they felt such joy that they lived long enough to see the next generation grow.
For us it has been terribly hard to finally say good-bye to a wonderful man we have loved all our lives but we take comfort knowing that he had strong faith in God and in the promise of what was to come in Heaven. I'm trying not to cry because he is gone, but to take joy in all the memories that I have because I was so lucky he was in my life for so long.
Good-bye Fella, I'll love you forever.