Thursday, March 29, 2012

"My baby"

I do most of my posting about my granddaughter, Layla, on Facebook.  Today, I wanted to write a post about her for my blog.  See this picture here?  This pretty much sums up how much I love this baby girl.  Her smile is so infectious that It is impossible to not smile back.  This picture was taken last week on my birthday. 

This series of pictures was taken on Sunday in our front yard.  It was an unseasonably warm day in March, and we all were outside (some without shoes) to enjoy the warm day.

 She's a good crawler...and she'll be walking in no time!
"Come to grandma!"  I'm the one pointing the big camera in her direction. Seriously, what is not to LOVE about that face?
Then there is this picture....her mom sent it to me last week.  The picture on the wall is of Layla when she was just a day old.  It is Elise's favorite picture, so I had it made into a canvas print for her for Christmas.  There is Layla in her crib waving at her younger self.  Elise says that she always gets so excited when she looks at the picture...that she jumps up and down.  All I have to say is that this child also likes looking at herself in a mirror or reflective surface (so does her dad, by the way).
There you have it.  Shameless grandma bragging about her cute little granddaughter, Layla Rae Davis.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

100 Years Ago Today-This is for you Grandpa Danley

On March 21, 1912, my grandpa was born.  His name was Eugene Howard Danley.  He was born in Springfield, Illinois, and as he wrote in his life history, "just a few blocks from the home of Abe Lincoln, the finest President this country ever had and I'm proud to have come from that vicinity!"

My grandfather wasn't a perfect person.  By accounts of living relatives he sometimes had a temper.  He could be a cantankerous man...difficult to get along with at times. (I think I inherited that genetic attribute.) Some have even said that he felt that he'd been given a raw deal in life.  I wish he had lived long enough to see his children grow old and his grandchildren grow into adulthood.  Gene had a hard life, and he might not have realized what he would call personal success in his own life.  But he has a progeny that he would most certainly be proud of.

1912.  Wow.  In that year, the modern day Republic of China is established ending nearly three centuries of reign by the Manchu Dynasty.  1912 was also the year that the Japanese gifted the famous cherry blossom trees to our nation's capitol.  This was the year that the Titanic struck ice in the North Atlantic and resulted in the worst maritime tragedy in history.

Gene worked a variety of jobs in his life.  At a young age, he sold newspapers for the Peoria Journal and the Peoria Star (now the Journal Star).  He never completed schooling past elementary school, but he learned skills as he went through his life.  He drove a taxi cab in Peoria for many years, and he tells his stories in a memoir that you can read HERE.  He entered the US Army and while in basic training, he was injured.

According to my Aunt Judy, there was a man at basic who open fired on soldiers, and my grandpa was instrumental in stopping him.  In the process, he was also shot.  He was honorably discharged from the military and received his veterans benefits for the remainder of his life.  I heard this story for the first time just this past summer.  Oh, how I wished that I could talk to him about his experiences in his life. 

On my grandpa's 58th birthday, I was born.  I have the distinct honor of sharing his birthday...March 21st...the first day of spring.  One time when I was little...maybe 7 or 8, I remember that I sat in my grandpa's lap on my birthday, and he told me that I was his special granddaughter because I was born on his birthday.  I honestly still remember that.  It was one of the few times that I remember him addressing me directly.  I know that sounds weird.  He talked to me...don't get me wrong, but I remember this time as being particularly special.

This is a picture of a cake that my Aunt Donna made for a joint birthday party for me and grandpa. This summer, I was looking at this picture with some of my aunts and uncles, and there was a disagreement over whether this cake was for me or grandpa.  My aunt actually had me convinced that it was my grandpa's cake...until my Uncle Bill said, "And what day is YOUR birthday?"  (meaning mine).  Man, did I feel silly.  I just assumed that Aunt Donna was right...because she usually is ;-)

Here is a picture of that same birthday.  That is me in my 70s garb and unattractive hairdo.  My sister is to my right and my cousin Billy is to my left.  My grandma is standing behind me.  That is dad and Kathy by Grandma...and way in the back...peeking in on the action from the Grandpa Danley.
The little girl and fisher man cake theme reminded me of one of my favorite pictures of me and my grandpa.  My dad drug me along this day on a fishing outing with his dad.  I LOVED to go fishing as a little girl. I mean I really loved it, and I have good memories of fishing with my dad.  This picture cracks me in my patent leather a life jacket (probably at my mom's insistence) as we are fishing off of what looks like a country road "overpass."  Makes me smile every time I see it.    
You know what other picture makes me smile? This one.  He looks happy hanging out with me on the floor.
It reminds me of another grandpa I know who loves to hang out with his granddaughter while she plays on the floor. 
This picture is how I remember my grandpa...always sitting at the kitchen table..always playing Pinochle.  He loved to play cards, and he HATED to lose.  When grandpa was playing, I knew better than to bug him.  Every once in a while, he'd let me sit on his lap and touch the cards for luck, but I soon grew bored of this task.  I learned to play Pinochle when I was probably 13 or 14 years old, and I really do enjoy it immensely.  It is a Danley Family tradition.  Seated in this picture are my grandparents, my dad (with the sideburns ;o) and my Aunt Wilda..who I adore.
I can't believe that grandpa would have been 100 years old today.  He died on March 30, 1981.  I had just turned 11, and he had just turned 69.  I wish that he lived long enough to know that this granddaughter born on his birthday turned into a happy and successful woman.  Because of him, there are hundreds of descendants who are linked to the Danley name.  Every one of them I know has honored that name...each in his or her own unique way.  I am hopeful that when we all re-connect in the next life that he'll smile with pride and see how his children, his grandchildren, his great grandchildren and his great-great grandchildren have lived good lives in large part because of a trail that he rugged and jagged and sometimes troubled as that trail might have been.

I love you, Grandpa.  I'm proud to be your granddaughter!