Recently I sadly lost my lovely Grandpa.
He had been ill for some time and whilst I will dearly miss his cheeky smile and wicked sense of mischief, I am comforted that he is no longer suffering as he did so very much – mentally and physically – towards the end.
I discovered the Huffington Post’s #TalkToMe campaign the day he passed away. It is a movement that aims to spark conversations between grandparents, parents and children. Encouraging the sharing of stories, knowledge and wisdom between generations through the art of intentional conversation.
It happily reminded me that I had taken the time to have such a conversation with my Grandpa (and my other Grandparents) several years’ back and prompted me to re-read my notes. Reading my grandparents love story again made me realise that it was entirely sparked by a ‘yes’, so I couldn’t resist sharing it with you as part of our ‘yes stories’ series. (We hope that there will be many more of these to come in the future).
Ladies and gentleman, yes truly can lead to love and a lifetime of happiness…
A soundtrack of fervent motorbike engines, at Coventry Speedway, accompanied my grandparents first meeting. You see, both of my Grandparents were already leading the yes revolution, shunning more traditional sporting spectator escapades to watch bikes, without breaks, race around a track in 15 (usually) nail-biting heats.
Grandpa was there with his friend Bob, and Granny with her friend Betty, their respective regular Speedway companions.
One week close to the end of the season, Gramps spotted two new faces just below them in the stand; Gran and her friend Betty. He obviously likes what he saw and was brave enough to take the lead, and the four of them got chatting. Then, in what I can only assume was merely inadvertently a derivative of the cheesy ‘do you come here often’ pick-up line, Gramps proclaimed that he ‘didn’t see them there often’ and enquired where they normally stood.
Armed with the intelligence surrounding their usual whereabouts, Bob and Gramps went looking for the girls the following week. They walked all through the stands and couldn’t find them. It was the end of the season, so Gramps assumed himself beaten.
Little did he know he had caught Granny’s eye just as much as she caught his. The next season, a full five months later, my Gran had set her mind on another yes. My Grandpa. And the girls appeared in Gramps’ usual spot, they had come looking for them!
And the rest, as they say is history, and the start of a beautiful partnership and lifelong companionship. Gramps and Gran courted for ‘two or three years’.
Their burgeoning relationship was nearly scuppered when Gramps found himself in a bit of a scrape (he was slightly prone to them), coming off his bike whilst cycling down the village to let the hens out.
Taking quite the fall, Gramps found himself stranded in a ditch after a bolt on his bike disintegrated, causing the mud guard to drop and him to come a cropper. Fortunately, the commotion attracted the attention of ‘Old Uncle Jack’ who rescued Gramps and packed him off to hospital.
His stint in hospital meant he missed his, now regular, Wednesday trip to see Gran in Coventry. Luckily Gran forgave him his absence and accepted his explanation, as his point was punctuated by a number of scars and a slightly mauve face!
They were married 18th August, 1952.
So you see, without both my Grandparents taking a step away from the norm and becoming devout Speedway fans, they never would have met. (Unsurprisingly it is a passion that they handed down to my Mum and Uncle, and then to me – I attended Speedway every week until I went to university, and it is a hobby that I truly miss).
I am so proud of many of the things that my Grandpa continued to say yes to throughout his life, above all love, kindness, and a little bit of mischief.
If you want to read more about my Grandpa’s escapades, I shared some of his stories on the Huffington Post as part of the #TalkToMe series. I really hope it will encourage you to say yes to intentional conversations with the older generations in your family. Mine was sparked by the purchase of a Grandparents Journal, that guided my questions, but the HuffPost provides lots of inspiration for questions that will leave you with lasting wisdom and stories.