Long before it became the thing to do my mother solved the problem of not having a grandparent nearby. I am not sure if her grandparents were still alive at the time of her birth but even if they were they were far away in Belgium so she really never knew them as by the time she and her mother and father did travel to their homeland the parents were gone.
When she was very young there was a senior gentleman who came by often called Mr. Seager. He was visiting his wife in the front house and Mom and her parents lived in the back. It was a bit unusual but Mr. Seager and his wife no longer lived together because as time had gone on they no longer got along very well. Divorce was just not done back then and so Mr. Seager lived in a nearby rooming house and walking over to take care of his garden in the back. It seemed to be a much better arrangement especially since there were no children.
One day as he walked along my mother ran up to him and asked as boldly as only young children can. “Will you be my grandpa?” He looked down as replied that he was not sure unless it was okay with her mother. Mom grabbed his hand and pulled him to their door. “Mamie!” She called. “Look, I found a grandpa. Can he stay?”
Mamie came out drying her hands and saw who it was and knew him to be a very kind gentleman. She was of the feeling that his wife was the cross person who took advantage of her husband but that was only her opinion. She smiled at him and replied to Mom. “I think that is a very fine idea.” And from that day on he became Gran-pa Seager with all that it meant. He came for supper when invited. Mom would run and walk with him and he would show her his favourite flowers – the gladiolas. When her mother and father were busy with earning a living and taking care of the home, Gran-pa Seager always had time to listen to Mom. She came to love him dearly and he was part of her life for as long as he lived.
He did live longer than his wife and one day Papa went over to check on him and found him crying so broken-hearted. Papa asked him what on earth was wrong. Gran-pa Seager said that he was all alone in the world and that there would be no one to put flowers on his grave on Decoration Sunday. In a small town that was a very big concern as every grave would be covered in flowers except for a few sad ones who everyone knew had no one to care. William Seager was very much afraid that he would be one of those. Papa patted him on the shoulder and made a very solemn promise that for as long as he lived Gran-pa Seager would always have his favourite gladiolas on Decoration Sunday. Papa kept that vow to his dying day and so if you are exploring the Delhi Cemetery and come across a tiny stone saying William Seager place a flower and remember our adopted Great-great Gran-pa.