Mary Lekoshere Illustrated

October 24th: Opa
October 25, 2009, 2:32 am
Filed under: Octboer 31 Project

My uncle John suggested something grandfatherly. October 24th marks the 11th anniversary of Opa, my grandfather’s death. I decided to do a project in honor of him. He was grandfather to a lot of people. I have about 40 first cousins…then there are their spouses and their children. We share treasured memories of the man whom we were so blessed to know, and call family.

Opa saw me before my dad did. We were the lucky family to live quite close to him and he was a major part of our lives. Sunday’s especially. We had a regular order to our church pew. Kent, Ward, Opa, me and Luke…and after that things got mixed up a bit with Jane, John and the parents. But my seat was next to him, on the left. He passed out quarters for the offering, and candy for us. He whispered, but not quite soft enough. One Sunday, after I had had a bike accident scraping up my backside, he said to me as I came into the pew (and not in a whisper) “Hey, How’s your butt?”

After the service, Jane and I got into the Ford, or the Golf, or back in the day, I got into the VW Bug with the red seats, and rode to Sunday dinner with him. Often, we would stop by his house to pick up his contribution to the dinner. Often it was a tin bowl of Jello covered in plastic wrap. I didn’t like Jello. I also didn’t like the red cabbage brought one Sunday and cried over. He was a notorious fast driver and would “catch our stomachs” on the crazy road to his house. When we got to the house, he would read to the younger kids. I suppose he read to me, and I suppose I listened sometimes when it was the younger, but I remember it as a tradition with the youngest three. My drawing depicts this. Thankfully I had a camera-happy dad and have many picture of our life with him.

He died when I was fourteen. He spent the last year of his life suffering from a disease that took the use of his legs, and consequently, his independence. I realized, after his death, that memory is kind, and I remember him as the strong man that he was. I have some tangible things he left me. A dresser that he made me when I was small enough that my dresses could hang in the little cupboard. My first two names are engraved on the door. He left out my last name so my husband could one day put my married name on. That’s what he said, anyway. I have some carving tools from him that he gave me and I sewed a case for. I have a little carved wooden figurine that he made me, when I so badly wanted a sister. I think I named her Betsy. And I have a thousand memories. Last year, as I walked as a bride up the aisle, the congregation sang the German National Anthem, “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken” in honor of my Opa and Oma. I love you, Opa. See you soon.




10 Comments so far
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Beautiful Mary – both the drawing and the story behind it! I love your memories of your Opa. The drawing captures him perfectly… I can remember all of you sitting in the pew just as you wrote!

Comment by Christy Stevenson

yes, all of you sitting in front. Little did I know, John Wheeler would be my boss one day. Soo… remember the widow row behind our pew? What do you think THEY were thinking about Opa? :)

Comment by marylekoshereillustrated

i do remember!!! Ha! That’s something to think about!

Comment by Christy Stevenson

Wow, I really like this one. Your memories of him are so precious! It makes me really wish I had been able to meet him!

Comment by Ashley Wagner

this is so sweet..and thanks for sharing your memories of him with us…it makes me think of and appreciate all my great memories of my parents and grandparents. you’re right…”memory is kind”.

Comment by Melissa Goff

That’s so sweet!

Comment by rynda

It’s beautiful… the drawing and your writing.

Comment by Alyson Richards Smith


Comment by marylekoshereillustrated

So sweet, Mary! I love the drawing. Your opa was a vivacious and funny man. I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to know him.

Comment by Katie Hager

This is special. I loved this!

Comment by Rachel H.

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