Today as I reflect on turning 65 (tomorrow), it finally occurs to me that those memories are of my grandparents at an age that I am just now turning to. Where did the lifetime go? I was 3. I was 7. I was 12 when we lived in Rhinelander, WI. Summer was fireflies and gigantic black bumble bees on the dash of my grandfather's car. It was also many trips down Thayer Street passing under the viaduct and visiting the penny candy store and Aunt Mar's Treasure Chest gift shop.
I remember grandpa's hand, like a huge gnarled paw, smashing down on the dashboard smashing the flying monster that terrified me. And then just like that, the tears and fears were gone because the country backroad we were traveling on took a dip and suddenly I felt the tickle belly feeling that comes from the road dipping down then rising quickly back up as the road moved on.
Winter was clearing the sidewalk of snow and the steps leading up to the porch. It was ice fishing with my dad and being defeated from taking a prize home because the local muskrat was swimming around claiming our lakeside fishing hole. Winter was snowballs and snow angels and snow men with real coal for eyes and a carrot for a nose. A hat and scarf from grandpa finished him off.
Now, at 65, I'm looking forward to grands of my own someday. Nothing on the horizon yet but I'm not concerned. Children are a gift and we are each allowed a certain number to share our life with. Whether they are our own or whether we become the best aunt and uncle ever, children are almost always there to enliven our lives.
So now I think about what I would like to give my own potential grands and the dream doesn't stir far from what I remember. Someday I too shall be making donuts and flapjacks and bread. There may not be fireflies and I definitely won't be saving anyone from a bumble bee but just as I have these gifts to pass on from my grandparents, I have also the memory of peanut brittle (thank you, dad) that I can also share with them.
1949 - Russ (my dad), Lee Henry Bastian (my grandpa), Noni Johnson (my great grandmother)., Esther Johnson Bastian (my grandma), Lois Ann and Fay Bottiglieri Bastian (me in my mother's arms, Mary Bastian (my cousin) and Bob Bastian (my uncle) and wife, Louise.jpg