We called my grandma on the Kimball side of my family Nana. She was a lot of fun and had an engaging personality. She could also be transparent in her reaction to people if she had an opinion. For example, after she met you the first time we were talking with my sister whose husband had already met Nana. My sister's husband had long hair and piercings, etc. At that time you told my sister that your visit with Nana had gone very well, and all my sister said to that was,"You're welcome." She recognized that the comparison between you and her husband had been extremely favorable to you. I was disappointed that I was not able to see Nana's face the first time she met my sister's husband. I also remember that the first time she met you she sang "Diamonds are a girls best friend" in her very charming way.
I knew Nana the least of my four grandparents because they spent Winters in Arizona, so some of my best memories of Nana were when she was near the end of her life when I would go over to visit and take care of her for an afternoon now and then. I remember she would guide me through making lunch, which generally consisted of some kind of Campbell's Soup and toast or a cheese toasty. I think she assumed I didn't know how to cook at all, so she would be very specific and attentive in her guidance to me as I was helping to prepare the meal and do the dishes afterward. I also remember during those times that conversation was not difficult. She was interested in my life and asked questions, and the conversation flowed well.
I knew my Kimball grandpa, Papa John, in a way that I didn't know my other grandparents because I went to work for the company that he founded. When I first worked at Kimball Equipment Company I remember several old timers coming up to me individually and telling me that Papa John was the most honest man they had ever done business with. One story about Papa John that illustrates this point is as follows: One day a salesman had just received an order from a customer, and he brought the customer into my grandfather's office to tell him about the details. After a few minutes of listening Papa John said, "I think we can help you do what you need to do with the equipment you already have." The salesman was speechless at this turn of events. Papa John was very committed to serving his customers, and living up to his legacy of honesty is something I frequently think about and work to do. In this way Papa John had a powerful influence on me through a work life that I did not observe first hand, but only heard about. I think this is a great principle for family relationships. We can have so much influence on our posterity through simply living correct principles.
This story about Papa John's integrity illustrates a characteristic he possessed that was probably even more fundamental than and at the heart of his honesty. He genuinely cared about people. He was tolerant and kind. The early years of the company were in a different era, which as we tell stories we sometimes refer to as the wild wild west. Papa John often bailed employees out of jail on the weekend and in general was good to them. Again, this came through in his relations with customers and others he associated with through his work. Finally, he worked hard, and his kindness didn't lead to indulgence. My dad tells a story of one time when my dad was working in the warehouse, and after sweeping out the warehouse had sat down to rest. Papa John walked through the warehouse and asked my dad why he was sitting down and that if he didn't have anything else to do he should sweep the warehouse. When my dad told him that he had just finished sweeping it, Papa John said, "Well, sweep it again. I won't have anyone see my son sitting around not working." I am grateful for all these lessons I have learned through hearing stories about Papa John. They have had a great motivating effect on how I want to live my life and what I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren.
Each day this week of family history I am giving away some smaller journaling prizes. Today is the last day! It's been a fun week and I have loved sharing our stories with you. I am committed to make this a regular occurance. It has blessed my life.
Each prize consists of a journal, stamps and washi tape... a little something to help you get started writing your own personal history. To enter each day please leave a comment about the post below. You could enter every day. All winners will be announced Monday January 26, 2015.
Don't forget to enter the RootsTech 3-day pass giveaway.