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The People Who Most Influenced Me - Part 1

Ann Stoll

My Grandma Lois - That stove is still in operation. My dad lives there now.

My Grandma Lois - That stove is still in operation. My dad lives there now.

Many people have poured into me over my life-time. People still are to this day. But if I had to really narrow it down, it would be these people that I'm about to write about. 

There were certain things I could count on. Sundays were spent at my Grandma and Grandpa K's house. Every day that they were alive, I was there on Sunday. My whole life. Of course, I missed here and there and probably a bit during my rebellious teen years, but I came back and resumed what I had always done. During the years I was growing up, I could count on oatmeal with milk. Orange juice placed in my special spot. I could count on a little special surprise they had for me. I could county on hot dogs and fries for lunch. Grandma made the BEST french fries and it has ruined me for life. She made those delicious crinkle thin cut fries. I could count on having their undivided attention the whole day. While they went about their work, I was right there with them, learning to garden, learning about apple orchards, planting flowers, being tutored on the trumpet and listening to my Grandpa's violin playing. They taught me the simple things is where to find joy. I was taught how to can food, save and re-use, and that all things don't have to be new. I saw them cry. I heard them argue, but there was so much love between them. Grandpa called Grandma, mamusha (I"m sure I'm not spelling that correctly). 

My Grandpa Joe

My Grandpa Joe

My Grandma was the only person in my family that talked to me about Jesus. She had a gentle faith and when I obtained her Bible after she passed, I realized how much she loved the Lord. She had all these notations in her margins, especially scripture that had to do with being a servant. This is where her character shined. She taught me to always keep my house company ready. There were always, and I mean always, a baked treat or two just waiting for company to arrive and she would pull a snack together for you in short order. She had the gift of hospitality. There is so much I could write about, but let me move on to my Grandpa Joe

Many people thought of my Grandpa as a difficult man or gruff and grumpy. This was a man that spent every Sunday from my 4th grade on, tutoring me on the trumpet. He was a music director and professional violin player in his day. Because of his dedication to my music performance, I was usually a first chair trumpet player in the school band. He would call me on my birthday and play the Happy Birthday song on his violin for me. He also had a lap that was always ready for a little girl, me, to sit on, which I did for hours! He was a robust man, so he was fun to hug. We liked to call them squishers, and he got lots of those each week. I would throw my arms around his neck and try to hug him as hard as I could. Every week until he passed, my Grandpa got a squisher. He also built for me a dollhouse and farm. He and Grandma helped to collect the doll necessities that were needed. Hours of delight were spent on that house, which was at their home. It was magic to this girl. 

On Sunday evening, they would drive me home, but not until we stopped at McDonald's to eat dinner. This was usually the only time I got to eat there, so it was a special treat, for sure.

I have so many more stories to tell about these two. They heavily influenced who I am today. They are gone now, but I got to enjoy them for a very long time into my adulthood. My Grandpa has been gone now for 19 years and my Grandma followed him about 5 years later. I still can weep when I'm walking through my orchard and I think of my Grandma on more days than not. I so wish I could still have them. Their departure left a huge hole in my heart. I long for the day when I will see them again.

Who were the big influences in your life?