Grandpa and the Grandchildren’s Gallery

Growing up, my children spent a lot of time with two of their cousins. All four kids were close in age, born between 1978 and 1985. All four are now independent, well-adjusted adults, and my in-laws had a large role in raising all of them.

When they visited their grandparents, the four cousins loved to play in the unfinished basement of my in-laws’ house, where Grandpa had his workshop. The kids rode Big Wheels and tricycles, ran the electric train, and “helped” Grandpa with various projects.  Grandpa was a good “fix-it” man, and he puttered around while the children played.

Over the years, each of the grandchildren made his or her own projects in Grandpa’s workshop—of wood and nails, paint and glue, whatever scrap materials Grandpa had on hand. Grandpa mounted each of their childish creations on the wall of his workshop.

My in-laws moved to a new house when the four cousins were in their teens. Grandpa took a picture of his grandchildren’s work displayed on the old workshop wall. Then he took down all their creations and re-mounted them in his new workshop—each piece in exactly the same position it had had in the old house. The photo above is of the children’s artwork hung in its new gallery.

The piece I like best is the sign my nephew painted (see photo on the right). I’ve been told that usually the middle two children (my niece and my son) ganged up on the youngest (my daughter), who then had to be rescued by my nephew in his role as Responsible Oldest Child.

But it appears that on at least one occasion, the boys ganged up on the girls, and the “Never Say Die Club” was the result.

Thank goodness Grandpa was always there to keep the peace. He died ten years ago this month, but the Grandchildren’s Gallery remains intact in the house where my mother-in-law still lives.

What mementos from childhood do you still have?


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