This is a classic Gramps picture pose. Arms crossed, mouth set, a twinkle in his eyes. From the time I first met him I was taken with his crooked little smile and mischevious glint.
Mr. Tennis, probably middle school age, cutting the grass at the lake
I know, he doesn't look happy, but I have very few pictures of him actually smiling. But that set to his jaw is just how it always was.
Mr. Tennis and I graduated from UF one week before we got married. Here is a picture of Gramps and me, with my other surrogate grandparent, Tita, at a little family gathering we had at Mr. T's apartment the night before graduation:
See, he's almost smiling in this one! I am obviously anticipating the stress of the upcoming wedding and look a little queasy. March 1981
After our honeymoon, Mr. Tennis and I lived at Gramps' little lake house for a couple of weeks while we looked for a place to live in Orlando. We didn't know where we would settle after we got married because neither of us had job offers yet. (Why worry?) When we returned from our honeymoon (Mexico) Mr. Tennis had an offer to work at a local TV station in Orlando - parttime. So, it was settled where we would settle, O-town. Don't worry we both found full time employment shortly afterward and the rest is history.
But speaking of history, Gramps has one himself. He came to the U.S. when he was 21 from Germany. He spoke little English and went to live in Cincinnati where many German immigrants settled. So determined to learn English was he that he decided not to attend events or get-togethers where everyone was speaking only German, he instead chose to socialize with English speakers. I'm not sure how he met Rose, but she was also from a German immigrant family, The Peters, but she had been born in the U.S. There was a lovely wedding picture of them that hung in his house, but I don't know where that picture is now, sadly, because it was beautiful. They got married during the depression. Gramps was fortunate to have a job and he rented and completely furnished an apartment so his new bride would have a comfortable home.
Gramps and Grandma Rose
Mr. T. and Tony with the day's catch
Gramps and "his boys" getting ready to take a spin around the lake
Gramps showing perfect diving form off the end of his dock
There were many family gatherings at the lake. I attended my fair share after I entered the family. Countless birthdays were celebrated on the green picnic bench or in the dining area of the tiny cottage.
All the Weissmueller men together: Mr. T, Larry, Courtney, Gramps, baby Kurt and Tony
There was even a Christmas when our families had the day's festivities hosted by Gramps out at the Lake. My mother always said that was one of her favorite Christmases because it was so casual and relaxing.
Back: Grandpa Hughes, me, Orlando G-ma, Lanny G, Richard, Gramps and Larry.
Front: Eric G. (hi Mr. Decor!), Bonnie G and Grandma Hughes.
Gramps, we miss you very much, but how much better all our lives have been because you were in it. You will always have a special place in my heart for all the kindness, generosity, suppport and love you showed me, your surrogate granddaughter.
Gramps and his grandsons in the late 1960s