Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In Memory of James Robert Veteto (Grandpa Jim)

My grandfather passed away today. Shortly after I finished the last post I heard the news of his death.

I am numb at the moment. I cried when I first found out, but I had to carry on with my day and so I have not had much time to process. I was not particularly close to my Grandpa Jim (as well always called him), but I remember spending holidays and birthdays with him. My little sister Amy was even born on his birthday.

One thing I remember about him, is that he gave us stock for Christmas. When I was young he would give us $20 on our birthday and $50 at Christmas, and then one Christmas he started giving us stock. Imagine the perplexed look on the face of a 9 or 10 year old when you receive a piece of paper for Christmas that is not money. We did still get the $20 on our birthday. I was not thankful for the stock at the time, but now as I am older I really do appreciate it. With the stock I was able to purchase my first car and I still have some of the stock today. He was helping us prepare for our future

I also remember that he used to love to collect stamps. When I was about 13 he gave all of his stamps to me. Over the years I have spent sometime looking at the stamps. I am actually not even sure where they are right now, probably in the garage. I don't think I ever really appreciate those either. But I am so glad that I have those to remember him by.

I had not intended to make this an "in memory" but it just seems fitting.

I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandpa Jim:

Root beer floats in glasses so big there was no way a child could finish it.

Candy...he always had candy on the table, much to the chagrin of my parents.

Pigeons - on several different occasions he raised and raced pigeons. I never went to a race with him, but he would often talk about the birds and the races.

He always had our favorite soda in the refrigerator. He knew what we drank and he always had it there for when we came to visit

Apricots and lemons - both of these tress grew behind his house and when they were in season we would go home with bags of each.

I remember his gardens. During my teen years he occupied his time with gardening. I sure wish I had learned more from him. He had a lot of knowledge to share

While I do not remember it, we lived with my grandparents for I think about a year when I was Maddie's age right now (2 years old). My mom has always told me that he was gone a lot working, but we still lived there. The same house that he lived in until he died.

Rosa Maria burritos - There was this little "hole in the wall" place about a mile from his house. Every time, unless it was a Monday, we went to see him, we would stop at this place. Even to this day, every time we go back to California we make sure to stop and get a burrito.

In the years since I have been an adult, when I have gone to visit we would stop and pick up burritos and take them to his house. Those last few visit were special. They were never very long, but spending time with him was good. And having the opportunity to introduce him to his great-grand daughter was wonderful.

I am sad that Maddie will never know her great-grand father. But I am glad that even though she will not remember, she got to meet him and that we have a few pictures of them together.

I remember out last visit with him, just about a year ago. We almost did not take the time to stop because it was such a crazy trip, but in the end we did end up stopping for lunch and taking him out to get a Rosa Maria burrito. I have no idea what we talked about, but I do remember even then that his health was failing.

His death was not a surprise. I think we all knew that it was going to happen soon. But even when death is expected, it does not make it any easier.

I am sad tonight. I pray that he found Jesus in those final days of his life. I pray that he is in heaven and we will see him again one day. But the truth is I am not sure. Over the years I remember my parents talking to him about Jesus and God, but I also remember telling them that he was not interested in hearing anything. Maybe some of what they shared with him over the years got a hold of his heart.

I am going to end this post with a few pictures. I have very few pictures of Grandpa Jim, but the ones I do have are with him holding Maddie. I am so glad that I have these pictures. Maddie met her great-grandpa for the first time when she was 4 months old. The second and last time she saw her great-grandpa was when she was 17 months old. She really did not want to take the picture, but we did get it finally, even if it was with her binky in her mouth.

The last picture I have with Grandpa Jim

We love you...You will be missed.


Caroline said...

I'm so sorry. Keeping you all in my prayers.

Pete said...

Thanks Rachel, i remember all those things, you bring tears to my eyes, and joy in my heart. I love you Rachel

Krista said...

I'm sorry Rachel. It's never easy even when you know it's coming. The memories are the best though!

Mary said...

Oh Rachel, I'm so sorry! Losing a grandparent is never easy. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories!

ccc said...

Wonderful pictures that you will always treasure!
My grandfather raised pigeons too-I don't remember it as I was too young, but he would always talk about it.
Take care during this time.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

So sorry about your grandpa. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Mary Jo said...

You and your family are in my prayers...peace to you.

Krista Joy Veteto said...

Great, great recap of memories with gramps. You captured it perfectly! I remember the rootbeer floats and the stock more than anything else!

Kristi Ahrens said...

Sorry for your loss Rachel. I'm glad you have so many fond memories of him.


Jim was the most loving and kind man in the world. I often told him he reminded me of my dad. He taught me everthing about racing pigeons and spent time with me whenever I called him.

Dr. Doucet

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