with love, from grandpa.

There are a handful of people in my life who’ve shaped the woman I am today: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally. My mother’s parents are on the short list.


Both my grandfather and my grandmother contributed, each in a very different way. But today I’m thinking about grandpa. He’s on my mind.


My grandfather was an intellectual, the smartest man I’ve ever known. He and his buddy Harvey Fletcher started the engineering program at Brigham Young University, he designed unbelievable bridges all over the world, and made more than a few famous buildings structurally sound.

But more important than all that, he was my grandpa. My number one cheerleader. In fact, when I didn’t get accepted to BYU, he took down his beloved Y flag from the front window. The way he saw it, If *I* didn’t get in, well, the university didn’t need his support anymore.

His photography skills are legendary, and when I dig out some of his sweet photos I’ll put them up. He traveled all over the world, sending me a post card at each stop, and just looking at them now makes me weep.

He loved me so unequivocally, believed in me so completely, and treated me so equally. Grandpa treated me like a colleague, and talked to me like I might be able to understand even a fraction of what he explained.

Oh, how I miss him.

Right before my grandmother died {she’s another story for another day. she gave me every ounce of sass in my body} she gave me a collection of grandpa’s things. I’m not sure why, but I suppose she thought I’d appreciate them, keep them safe. I have his slide rule, a pair of his glasses, his pencil case with his pencils and erasers, and an assortment of other things. They’re my most treasured possessions. I keep them in my desk and from time to time I pull them out just to look, just to remember how loved I felt every time grandpa was in the room. And even when he wasn’t.

{Bixby Bridge photo here}.

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Allison

Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

21 Comments

  1. denverallens :

    How sweet. I love it!

  2. wilkinson_fam :

    I love this post. My grandfather died just a year ago and was – as yours – an amazing man in every way. He was a trailblazer in his field of choice (broadcasting) and touched many with his generous spirit.

    I am grateful you have items that remind you of his love. Those remembrances are what keep ya goin' until you're together again.

  3. likeschocolate :

    You have me crying Allison. What a sweet tribute.

  4. Petit Elefant :

    denverallens,

    thank you. was a little hard to write, frankly.

    Mamma,

    Mine too. :) I'm lucky to have had him for as long as I did.

    wilkinson fam,

    It's kind of neat to be surrounded by greatness isn't it? And the fact that I have some of his tools of the trade? Priceless.

    likeschocolate,

    me too. crying, sobbing.

  5. liesel :

    Thanks for sharing. Grandpa was amazing, wasn't he? He was over out our house one day, and my dad was making cookies in the KitchenAid. I touched the top of the KitchenAid and Grandpa asked me if it were warm. I told him it was and then he gave me a 10-minutes explanation about why the appliance was hot. I was about 6-years-old at the time and just stared at him trying to understand. Ha. Thanks for posting the pictures of his treasures. I would love to see them sometime.

  6. Kristie Holland :

    What a great post. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Petit Elefant :

    liesel,

    It was like trying to have a conversation with Einstein. I spent a lot of time nodding my head and pretending I understood.

  8. Donna :

    What a sweet post. I'm glad you have wonderful memories of your grandpa. He sounds like a wonderful man!

  9. the emily :

    so sweet.

    I wonder if my dad knew your grandpa? He knew Harvey Fletcher.

  10. Petit Elefant :

    Donna,

    Oh, he was awesome. Seriously one of the last gentlemen out there.

    the emily,

    maybe? my grandpa and harvey flipped a coin to see who'd get the engineering school named after them. was your dad a contemporary of harvey? that would be 1950's-60's at BYU.

  11. The Breeders Digest: Leadia :

    Ah – that's exactly how I feel about my grandma…and my grandpa too. They were just about the best 2 people to walk the earth. Isn't it the best feeling to have such precious memories and feel so lucky to have people like that in your life? Beautiful post.

  12. Mamma :

    Oh! That makes my heart so warm. How wonderful to have such an amazing person in your life.

  13. Barbie :

    Beautiful thoughts. I enjoyed this post thoroughly. I miss my grandpas too. That generation was so irreplaceable. Thanks for sharing.

  14. carol :

    How sweet Allison. This post is a cute little book all on its own. Made me think about my grandpa… thanks for the memories :-)

  15. Britty :

    I read that at work, probably a really bad idea because I started to cry. I miss him….

  16. Josh and Megan :

    I love the picture of the bridge! I'm originally from CA, so it makes my day to see beautiful CA pictures!!!

  17. Whimsical Creations :

    Such a sweet post. Sounds like an amazing man.

  18. ALC :

    Grandpa was one of the last great gentlemen. He also talked to me like I was perfectly capable of understanding whatever he was thinking about at the moment. I remember being a little kid and walking up to give him a hug and he would say, "quick – is it the numerator or denomenator on top of a fraction?" His confidence in my intellect & will power has carried me far. I will never forget the smell of his scratchy sweaters or his old Mercedez Benz. I love & miss you Grandpa, too.

  19. Marie {Make and Takes} :

    Love this! I makes me want to send post cards to everyone in my family all the time. I love that you have them to look back on! Thanks for sharing.

  20. The Jacobsen Family! :

    Such a neat story to hear who your grandpa was!
    I've recently been finding out more of who my grandparents (and great grandparents!) were, and am amazed the more I find out. Such a humble, strong generation. We need more like them in this world!

  21. Laurel Enke :

    I love and miss both grandma and grandpa too. I love your description of him and your comment that grandma gave you every ounce of sass :)