Friday, September 30, 2011

My grandfather

Here is a photograph (circa 1955) of my grandfather I found on the internet. He is, by the way, holding a baton. Several years ago, I had found another photograph on the internet of him and my grandmother as young newlyweds outside of Chicago around 1925. There were several other Guderyahn's in the picture. They had children, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of those people, distant from me, posted that photograph of the young couple with my grandmother in a summer flapper dress. She was a rather cute woman. That's funny, I can never imagine my grandmother as "cute." But there she was, standing in front of my grandfather, outside of a lake cabin somewhere near Chicago. A couple of years later, he got a job teaching at a small Lutheran College in South Dakota. From there he started a music program that created a local symphony.

My grandparents, second couple from left, along with the entire Guderyahn family, Chicago, circa 1925.

     I never met the man. He died a few years before I was born, collapsing at the podium. He had developed congestive heart failure related to rheumatic heart disease, a common disease of the time. Had he lived a few more years, he may have received an artificial valve, which hadn't been invented at the time. He was a violist. As a kid, I grew rather tired of hearing from people what a wonderful man he was. I never knew the man. I didn't know his personality, or what made him great. Most of the people that knew him have since passed, and I rarely hear about him any more. Nonetheless, here is a man from humble beginnings in Chicago, who moved to a small town in South Dakota, and started a music program that has since grown and matured and created several professional musicians who have gone off to have wonderful careers. It all started with this man. As I grow older, I see life as more of a continuum and less of how it starts and ends with me. My children have followed in my footsteps, forgetting about my aging parents as they have lives of their own. Maybe some day I will have grandchildren. I hope they will know me.

1 comment:

  1. Lutherans, I think, are slightly better than us Catholics. So he had that going for him.