Celebrating Grandpa

I’ve already tried this a couple of times and haven’t really known what to say. To be fair, I’ve been attempting this at the end of some pretty long work days so at least it’s not only due to lack of words.

Unfortunately, I lost my grandfather back in August. Grandpa Bill was my dad’s dad. I had already lost my mom’s dad, Grandpa Max, in 2012. It’s been hard losing both and now that Grandpa Bill is gone, it was a little like losing my other grandpa again too. I was closest to the two of them so, as weird as it may sound, I still felt a bit of a connection as long as I had Grandpa Bill.

I guess I’ll stick with what I remember most about Grandpa Bill. To me, at least memories I can easily access, he was always in Santa Cruz, Calif. He wasn’t, but it was where he was most of my child and adulthood. It suited him. Santa Cruz is not a huge city but it was not far from anything, had a mix of people, had an ocean but not far from mountains. The University of California Santa Cruz campus really makes this clear. It’s a city that has a lot to offer, much like he did. There is a constant thirst for knowledge (UC Santa Cruz as an example; he loved learning and kept learning more and more languages), there is ice cream (which he loved), the ocean and mountains (he loved hiking and nature all around), there is a friendliness about the city that my grandpa always possessed. The city is laidback, easy going, like he was. It always felt like going home when we’d go visit him or I’d get to drive up to see him when I was living in Needles. Everything about it was comfortable. He was comfortable.

We used to talk about the San Francisco 49ers and he would tease my mom about her Denver Broncos. Sometimes we’d talk about baseball or politics. I’d tell him about my classes in college or how work has been. He was always supportive but never pushy. Granted, I was a granddaughter not one of his own kids, but it still mattered he supported me. He helped pay for my college books and also offered to help pay for Netflix once I was on my own and we’d chat about what we’d watched and what we got out of that movie or that show.

Growing up, I didn’t get as much access to him as my dad, aunts, uncle or cousins, but I do have good memories with him. I will cherish all of them. I’m so sorry and sad he’s gone but I’m so grateful to have had him in my world for as long as I did.

I was in Santa Cruz for a few days or so with my dad, brother and a number of other family members for his celebration of life. I’m posting photos I took while out there trying to soak up as much of the city, and him, as possible. I still have loads to learn about how to be a photographer and I still need a good editing program but I’ll get there. I hope you enjoy these anyway. These were all taken with my Canon 80D using various settings. My dad took a few of the photos too.

So a quick couple of things: if you’ve ever been to Santa Cruz, I’m sure you’ve been to the wharf/boardwalk and if you haven’t been, fix that as soon as possible. The sea lions always have something to say as they lounge, or try to, beneath the wharf. The Big Dipper, a wooden rollercoaster, is still worth riding and while Santa Cruz isn’t the warmest, there are always surfers and it’s a cool little surf town. Check out the Surfer Museum (the lighthouse in the photos). My grandpa always said the statue of the surfer was really my uncle Liam. It kind of looks like him. The iron octopus seemed like some new-ish artwork on the wharf and it was fascinating so had to get some photos. The lighting was a bit rough that day and I need to get better about how to deal with that. Anyway, I hope these are well received.

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