Grandparent’s Day is Sunday, September 8 this year. This national holiday is always the first Sunday in September, thanks originally to the efforts of a lady from West Virginia. Marian McQuade is known as the Founder of Grandparent’s Day!
History of Grandparent’s Day
Marian was a housewife who worked with senior citizens for years and worked to recognize grandparents and also bring attention to the needs of people living in nursing homes. Many grandparents today are living long, productive lives… enjoying life and making contributions to family and society in so many ways! We at Brunswick Plantation and Golf Resort appreciate Marion McQuade’s efforts in recognizing the contributions of grandparents of all ages!
Marian began her campaign in 1970, eventually drawing the attention of U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph who was instrumental in lobbying Gov. Arch Moore to establish a statewide day for grandparents. Gov. Moore did that in 1973, the same year that Sen. Randolph introduced a Grandparent Day resolution in Congress. Mrs. McQuade and her supporters turned to the media for help.
It all paid off in 1978 when President Carter declared Grandparent’s Day a National Holiday! His calling was to reflect on the impact grandparents have on our own lives…And on Society! President Carter stated: “Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past to the events and beliefs and experiences that strongly affect our lives and the world around us!”
Marian McQuade passed away in 2008 at the age of 91…Mother of 15, grandmother of 43, and great-grandmother of 15! That is some lady! We salute Marian NcQuade for her efforts to honor grandparents that resonate throughout our country today!
I was fortunate enough to have known my maternal and paternal grandparents very well and have them involved in my life. I even knew my great-grandfather, Robert Brain, who came over on the boat with his brothers from England. Since he did not pass away until he was 99, I was fortunate to have several memorable conversations with him on the front porch of my parent’s home. I was always impressed by his humble but eloquent manner of speaking. I thought how brave he was to come to a new land, return for his young wife, and make a life for his family in this young country. I was told that he wanted land, which was difficult to find in England at that time. I am ever grateful for his courage!
I learned a lot from my grandparents on both sides of the family. My grandmothers taught lessons on life through quotes that I still recall fondly. One they both used was, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken!” I actually used that quote for discussion with my students when I taught school. My Grandmother Filer was also a teacher. Another quote was, “If you get mad, you’ll just have to get glad again!”
My Grandmother Watson, whose family came from Hannover, Germany, was the oldest of 13. She was very commanding and was president of many organizations. When I lived in Germany where I taught American students for several years, I saw that many of my grandmother’s qualities were very Duetsch. Timeliness was one trait was one that I admired but am still working on for myself! There was no fooling around at grandma’s house…Everyone worked hard on the farm and was eventually successful at business! I was fortunate to visit Hannover, Germany a few times and took my mother and nephew there to check out our roots! I think it is important to know your roots, as it helps you to understand your family and yourself!
One memory that I had with my Grandmother Filer still touches me to this day! My Grandmother and Grandfather Filer lived in the little mining town of Mather, PA. where everyone knew everyone! Every Christmas Eve, they had the whole family in for a party and lots of neighbors stopped by to join in the fun! There was a huge Christmas tree, lots of presents, and all kinds of ethnic foods that grandma made along with her delicious baked goods! I was the oldest grandchild and got to pass out the gifts, an honor! My cousins and I still talk about the love and laughter we experienced at those precious Christmas Eve celebrations! When I was living in Okinawa, Japan in the 80’s, I wrote to my grandmother and expressed to her how much I loved those Christmas Eve celebrations along with the memory of going to midnight services at the church! My grandmother wrote back that she really appreciated knowing how much that tradition meant to me, as she did it for my grandfather and did not realize how important it was to the children! Not long after that, my grandmother passed away, and I was ever so glad that I had written that letter! God Bless Her!
That memory inspired me to have my students write a letter…Not an e-mail… to someone in their family over the holidays. They were to express their thanks for some special tradition or memory that they had provided. I did not need to see the letter, but the parents were to sign a form I sent home to say that it had been mailed. One boy, whose dad was deployed, wrote three letters. I had told my students the story about my grandmother’s letter, and they seemed to really understand the importance of their letter. Several parents also thanked me!
So, on the Grandparents Day, I hope you remember and are remembered by your grandchildren in a meaningful way! I always say that “Time” is the Best Gift! There are lots of fun things to do together near Brunswick Plantation and Golf Resort. If you are Lucky enough to have grandchildren here, Enjoy! If it is not possible to be together now, perhaps you can plan a time together in the future…Make a Date! Let us know if you have stories of your grandparents or grandchildren that you would like to share! Take Care and Share!