(ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) My grandfather and I were very close. He died many years ago. The last thing he told my mother was “Please Remember Me”.
I’m now a grandfather. My son called me one day to tell me I needed to see a movie but wouldn’t say why. There’s a song in the movie Coco that says it all. “Until you are in my arms again, remember me.” Okay, I admit it I got pretty chocked up in the theatre. But as you listened around the theatre, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one.
My grandfather was George Youngquist. I called him Gramps. He was born in December 1903 in Oak Park, Illinois to Swedish immigrants Ida and Frederick. His Mother died when he was 8 years old. George’s Father had to go back to Sweden when his visa expired. Gramps was 12 years when moved to Pasadena, California to live with his mother’s sister – a single woman that he called “Auntie Augusta”. She raised him as her own son.
George had a happy childhood in California. Working in the garden. He had a newspaper route to make extra money. He was even a chauffeur during the Depression.
He grew up and met a beautiful nursing student, Florence, at a dance. There is a song in the movie My Fair Lady titled “I could have danced all night.” I envision George and Florence on the dance floor together when I hear that song. They got married in 1936. They had two lovely daughters, the oldest one being my Mother. He owned Youngquist Upholstery and made beautiful furniture. In fact, he made a beautiful cedar chest as a wedding gift for his bride that is still in the family.
Sadly, his wife died of breast cancer at the age of 43. My mother was 14.
I was born 6 years later.
Gramps was the kindest most patient man I’ve ever know. I remember rubbing noses together, he called them “Eskimo Kisses” and him rubbing his 5 o’clock shadow on my face. I knew I was loved. I’ve carried on that same tradition with my grandchildren.
He always had a camera nearby, telling stories. He took pictures of a rare snow storm in Pasadena in 1949. I follow in his footsteps with pictures and stories.
He would come to our house often for Sunday dinner and I would give him a tour of our rose garden that I was in charge of. I remember taking around the garden as a little boy and telling him that I called it the “George Youngquist Memorial Rose Garden” not know that the word memorial was meant for after someone had died. He laughed. My Mother was mortified. I grow roses to this day and think of him.
Gramps was a sharp dresser. I had a set of his cufflinks built into a custom hat that I call “The George.”
So Gramps, when you said, Please remember me”, I’ve got you covered.
These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m George Youngquist’s grandson – Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.
I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Other episodes of Jessop’s Journal can be seen at www.ABC4.com/Journal and are made possible by the generous support of Rustico, Tailor Cooperative, JW Custom Hats, Ogden’s Own Distillery and XLEAR.
You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. or online at www.ABC4.com/Success