Moments with My Grandparents

The Road Trip Sextet, Part 5 – “Moments with my Grandparents”

For Part 1, go HERE.

For Part 2, go HERE.

For Part 3, go HERE.

For Part 4, go HERE.

These are my grandparents, Nelson and Dottie. And they are awesome.

Both are well into their 90s and are approaching their 70th wedding anniversary.

This was the primary reason for my road trip in early June. Yes, I had a tea expo to go to. Yes, I had a beach party to attend. But the one reason that tops all of those was to see my grandparents for the first time in four years. Mainly for the stories they tell. And, boy, do they have stories aplenty. For this article, I wanted to highlight a few of them that were imparted just during this one visit. In the form of vignettes.

The Lazy Norman Conquest

For those who haven’t looked at my “About Me” section, my last name is “Norman”. Our unofficial family motto is: “Norman’s the name, conquest’s the game.”

That’s only partially true. Yes, Normans – Norse Viking descendants – were known for being conquerors, but our branch…kinda only made it about halfway. They looked at a certain coastal region in France and just…stayed there. For lack of a more creative name, they stuck with “Normandy”.

Our sub-branch of Normans originated from a small town called Igé in the Normandy region (present day Orne). According to my grandfather, it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sorta town. No one is sure as to why, but said sub-branch was booted from Igé and ended up settling in French Canada.

My uncle once tried to find the town of Igé on a trip to France, but only got as far as the golf course bar about a mile away.

I guess the family motto should be: “Norman’s the name, conquest’s the game…until we overstay our welcome and drink all your beer.”

Late to a Last Stand

As I learned, Grandpa Nelson also had a grandfather named Nelson. In the 1870s, his primary job was delivering supplies by coach. One such delivery, however, was delayed when his wagon broke a wheel.

The delivery was due to The Battle of Little Big Horn, commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand.

He arrived late.

Our family legacy of procrastination saved his life.

The Epic Handshake

When Grandpa Nelson was a little boy, a man came up to him and said, “Shake my hand.”

Little Nelson did so.

The man said, “Congratulations, you just shook the hand of someone who shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln.”

This was told to me as I was shaking my grandfather’s hand.

The Cocktail Lamp

In the main living room at my grandparent’s house, there’s an odd antique of a lamp. For as long as I can remember, I never paid it much notice. Until my aunt turned it on.

My grandmother explained that it was lamp purchased by my grandfather’s great-uncle – Mose Norman. It was also a permanent fixture in my great-grandfather’s doctor’s office in the early 1900s. After a time, though, the building where the office was located was scheduled for demolition. My grandmother made it a point to acquire that lamp before that happened.

And she did.

The thing still works over a hundred years later.

Dottie and Santa

Around Christmas time in Massachusetts, when Grandma Dottie was a little girl, she saw a man dressed as Santa hauling a large bag, walking down the street. She approached the exhausted individual – assuming he was Santa Clause – and invited him back to her house for a breather.

“Santa” declined the offer, and continued huffing down the neighborhood with his wares.

For years, Dottie never knew who that man was. As she was growing up, a part of her thought she actually had encountered Santa.

That is…until someone finally dropped the ball and told her who it actually was.

Her first cousin delivering presents to her house.


I spent a good five hours with them. A part of me wishes I’d stayed longer. If only for the anecdotes alone.

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 Musings

3 Comments to Moments with My Grandparents

  1. These are great! Love the handshake story. I really feel like the stories we tell from generation to generation are so important, and it’s wonderful that you were able to spend time with your grandparents this summer!

  2. Marlynn @UrbanBlissLife on July 21st, 2014
  3. I thought the guy was a muleskinner who arrived late to Custer’s Battlefield?


  4. Margo Hutchinson on July 21st, 2014
  5. @Marlynn – Only regret is the trip didn’t last long enough.

    @Margo – Eh, whatever.

  6. Geoffrey F. Norman on July 22nd, 2014

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