Grandparents—the very term expresses the special place they have in our hearts. To celebrate grandparents everywhere, T&S asked its staff and readers to share treasured memories.
My grandfather, Frederick Kirsch, made soap in a large, black kettle over an open fire. He mixed lard, lye and water and, with a long instrument, stirred nearly the entire day. After two days of cooling, he removed the soap and cut it into bars. My grandmother, Emma Kirsch, used the soap for laundry, which she hung out in the bright sunshine and admired her sparkling, clean clothes.
My Grandpa Emil Ehrlacher was a health inspector for St. Louis County, and one of his duties was to check the school refrigerators to make sure the milk was kept at the correct temperature. A few times a year, he would stop by my grade school at lunchtime and sit at the table with me. Before I went out to recess, Grandpa would push up my sleeve to draw a train. If you wanted to go to the circus, the cars would be drawn with circus animals. If you wanted to go to the candy store, the cars would contain candy canes and lollipops. Or if it was Christmastime, he’d draw Santa driving the train, and the cars would be full of wrapped gifts!
Six generations of the Italian side of my family has served homemade ravioli for our Christmas meal. These days, we buy them from Mama Tuscano’s on the Hill, but I remember my grandparents, Ceil and Santiago Cortopassi, rolling hundreds out in their home. This photo shows my Grandma Cortopassi preparing one of those holiday meals.
—Dr. Tim Jordan
I grew up around cars and was doomed to become a motorhead. When I was about 5, my grandfather, John Stoff Sr., was no longer licensed to drive, but for some reason he bought a retired ambulance—a 1956 or ’57 Ford station wagon. He lived on a large, open piece of land and gave me my first driving lesson. I was too small to reach the pedals, but I sat on his lap and worked the steering wheel as we drove around. I don’t think we were supposed to tell my parents, and I never did!
Every Christmas Eve, my mother-in-law carried on the ‘Christmas Hunt’ tradition started by her mother. The grandkids take turns reading clues that lead them stomping, clapping, singing and laughing through the house. The final clue leads them to their presents.
Pictured: Joan Rapp of Chesterfield with her Grandpa Emil Ehrlacher