My Grandfather

November 20, 2013
By Lexi Roderwald BRONZE, Round Lake, Illinois
Lexi Roderwald BRONZE, Round Lake, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It’s 1945 in the middle of Georgia. It’s a steaming hot day on the farm, and just imagining it makes you thirst for a glass of water. If you start walking closer to the farm, you will see a young man lifting many buckets filled with fodder and water for the animals. He’s 15, young but strong. He looks up at you and smiles, and you could see a look of pure determination and happiness in his baby blue eyes. You don’t know what it is, but from that one look, you acquire this energetic spark inside of you that you never knew you had. This is the presence that my grandfather, John Lynn, brought to every room and to every person.

My grandfather grew up in a very small town in Georgia with a very small family. To support his family, my grandpa worked on a farm. I guess you could say he was kind of like a hillbilly. But working on the farm made him realize that he wanted more in life. He didn’t want the small country life that his parents lived. He dreamed bigger than the rest of his family, and he wanted to strive for success. Three years ago, my mom decided to move into my grandpa’s house to help take care of him and the house. Since my grandfather grew up with very little family, you could imagine how hard it was when two 21st century teenagers came to live with him. Of course it was different for him, however, I feel that in my three years of living with him, he taught me more than I would have ever learned.

When my grandfather was young, he had a passion for theater and helping people. So when he became older he knew exactly what he wanted to do. My grandfather pursued an acting career and appeared in many famous movies such as The Notebook, Walk To Remember, and Return To Me. Even though he played small roles, the experience gave him even more love for the performing arts. Soon after that he had a thought to create a community theater program where everyone and anyone is welcome. The program is called The Kirkplayers. With over 100,000 tickets sold, it has been a major success and my whole family has grown a passion for acting because of it. Not only did he create The Kirkplayers but he also created the Lake County Pageants which changed the lives of many young, inspiring girls. And if all of those amazing actions have not been enough, he then started and judged the Lake County Fair Talent Show. He also got very involved with his church, and contributed his time to so many in need with personal or business problems. All of his achievements really gave me a spectacular role model to look up to. He used to always tell me, “Lex, you’ve only got one chance to live your life. So you either dream big or go home kid.” He taught me many other lessons such as, “You should always stay a Cubs fan, even if it takes forever.” and, “Black and White movies are always the ones that tell the best stories.” My grandfather was an expert at telling stories and trust me he had tons to tell. He would tell me a new story about his life everyday, and every story got better each day. The stories he would tell were sometimes about family, his career, life on the farm. But the ones I loved the most were the ones about his accomplishments. When he would tell them, you would see a glimmer of youth and pride in his face, and that was the greatest thing i’ve ever seen. That face was what made me realize that I wanted to be like him, and be able to accomplish so much in life while I still can.

A couple months ago my grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia.The doctors told him he had to be put into a nursing home until he started recovering. I visited him in the nursing home everyday I could. I would bring his favorite movies so that we could watch them together and talk about his day. The last time I visited him the doctors told me he was making a speedy recovery and might be able to come home soon. On August 26th of this year, my grandfather called me from the hospital to talk to me about my day since I wasn’t able to visit that day. He sounded happy and full of life just like he used to be. I hoped this was because he was feeling good enough to come home soon. The next day I found out that my grandfather had passed away from a heartattack that morning. I couldn’t stand to think that my biggest role model in life wasn’t here anymore. I didn’t expect so many people to come to the funeral so when over 100 people showed up, I was in complete shock. They told so many stories about how he was their inspiration and it made me realize how many lives he has affected and helped in the best of ways.

It’s been a week without my grandfather and I still think about him everyday. He has inspired me to dream bigger in life and accomplish everything I want to. He has made a huge impact in my life and the lives of many people. So thank you grandfather for teaching me all I ever needed to know about the old days. Thank you for never failing to show me every cubs game, even if I didn’t understand them. Thank you for the late night talks and the bright smile every morning. Thank you for leaving a family legacy that is irreplaceable. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. And thank you for being the biggest inspiration a girl like me could ask for.

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