Legacy Building

Making ice cream with Pa

Making ice cream with Pa

I was lucky enough to have all four grandparents deep into adulthood. Each brought something different to the mix that is now me. From Grampie I learned generosity. As a young man back in the early 1930s, he made some money on the stock market. Before investing into what would become his future company, he decided to tithe 10% to a missions project in China. Through the years, Grampie always credited his success to writing that first $2,000 check – even though it hurt. For the rest of his life he gave and gave and gave. And God gave more.

I learned adventure from Gramsie. She loved to travel. Grampie did not so he sent his grandkids instead. Being the eldest granddaughter, I got to go a lot. There was the Grand Tour of Europe at age 16, and China at 23. But my favorite was the year I turned 20 and fell in love with the Holy Land. For me there was a story around every corner:

  • Crowded alleys in Istanbul’s Grand Suk filled with spices, hookahs & copper pots
  • Women carrying water jugs on their heads and real shepherds with their flocks
  • Thick Turkish coffee in tiny cups and rooms full of ‘magic’ carpets
  • Petra’s Treasury building carved deep into the sheer red cliffs of Moab
  • Damascus lace and the Road where Paul saw the Light
  • The Golan Heights with its bunkers and rusted-out tanks
  • The Temple Mount and the Tower of David
  • The haunting sounds of the muezzins from the minarets in every city
  • Acres and acres of excavated history.

Every time I go back, I find more stories and fall in love all over again.

Pa taught me about living in the moment. He was the first of my grandparents to go. He died falling off a ladder cleaning out the gutters of his roof. He’d been retired twice already and couldn’t stand it. Then he bought an RV and toured the country while Grandma sat in the back cringing. She’d say: ‘Mr. Doyle, you can be replaced’. They were married 61 years. Happily. They were best friends. He was my best friend too. Pa let me drive the ‘putt-putt’ car from his lap when I was 5. He taught me how to drive at 15. We made ice cream, went camping and made Christmas projects in his garage. He listened. He asked questions. He was my bud. I still dream about him.

From Grandma I learned about devotion to God. She was our prayer warrior. She buried her youngest son at the age of 39. (He was 6.) That’s when she really learned to burrow into God’s embrace. She was strict and thrifty and practical. While Pa was out selling encyclopedias and Fuller brushes during WWII, she stayed home and raised my dad. It was Grandma who took the bus downtown to get him out of the holding tank over a youthful misunderstanding. (There was no misunderstanding about who was getting what when they got home.) It was Grandma who made pot roasts for the servicemen every Sunday after church. It was Grandma who prayed her family through life’s challenges and showed us what faithfulness looked like. It was Grandma who showed me how to move on after my own husband died seven months after she buried Pa.

That’s the stock I come from. I hope when it’s my turn, I will leave a similar legacy to my own grandchildren … when they decide to come along.

In honor of my grandparents – Howard & Marion Peterson and Ed & Jean Doyle – on Grandparents Day.



  1. says

    I love how you thought gut about what you specifically learned from each grandparent. It’s making me think about what I learned from mine !

    • says

      Thanks Susy. Family is important to me. They are the tribe that makes you YOU. Your history is rich. I love that your mom was an Adventure Girl too! And your dad was a cowboy. Explains a lot!

Leave a Reply