100 years ago on Friday (the 6th), my Grandpa Arthur Hansen was born. We lived pretty far away from him while I was growing up but I do have a few great memories.
I knew that he loved me and my brothers and sisters a whole lot– pretty impressive that he could make me feel that from only seeing us a few times–we didn’t even get to visit once a year, but I knew he really loved me.
When I was 6 or 7, he and Grandma came out to Missouri to visit. He brought my sisters & me Michael Jackson paper dolls (Not the paper kind, but the plastic-y kind that stick to each other.) We didn’t have a clue who Michael Jackson was, but it was obvious from the pictures that he was both cool & famous. We had fun playing with those dolls, but we couldn’t figure out why he only had one sparkly glove instead of a pair.
When I was around 11 or 12 we went out to Utah to visit Grandpa. We had a big picnic in the park to celebrate his birthday (and a few other family birthdays.) There was to be a pie-eating contest and Aunt Dianne made a banana cream pie for each person (that was alot of pies). My dad is allergic to bananas so she made him a special pie with no bananas. There was a big discussion between Uncle Mark and Uncle Nels about whether that would give dad an unfair advantage during the eating, but I was very impressed that she went to the trouble to make a special pie. I don’t know who won the contest, but when Grandpa finished his pie, he had whipped cream all over his face and even in his nose. He grabbed my sister in a big bear hug and said, “Give me a kiss, Mary!”
Grandpa had false teeth and whenever we visited, he would announce, “Careful where you sit, I’ve set my teeth down somewhere and they might bite you!” Then he’d push his teeth out with his tongue and clack them at us. (They’d been in his mouth the whole time.) I was always pretty fascinated by that glass of water that his teeth soaked in.
A funny story I know about his teeth from before I was born: Grandpa taught classes for awhile and every day before he walked into the classroom he would stop and raise his hand to check that he had his teeth in, his glasses in his right breast pocket and his pencils in his left breast pocket. Some of his students thought he was Catholic because of this. (If you don’t get that joke, try it yourself.)
Grandpa Hansen served a mission in Norway as a young man and then he and Grandma served 3 missions in Iceland after he retired (or was it 2 missions to Iceland and 1 in Switzerland?)