LIFE WITH HERMAN – Strength of Character
Grandpa Herman was a “character” as Grandma so humorously portrayed. He worked hard, loved his family and had a fun disposition. One thing not mentioned was that Grandpa struggled with alcoholism. Many of the difficulties experienced in the family were due to this addiction. But, here is where we see the true character of this great man.
My father was Grandpa Herman’s oldest child and was the first child in the family to marry. Therefore, their first child was Grandpa Herman’s first grandchild; that would be me. The story has been told often of how when I was born, my father warned Grandpa that he would not be able to be around me if he did not do something about his alcoholism. Grandpa loved family more than he loved alcohol and so he made a decision to let himself be admitted to Manteno hospital in Chicago to “dry out” and get the needed help. Then he joined AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and stayed close to this group for the rest of his life.
Anyone who has struggled with or been around family members with addictions will know how much strength this took. It is like crossing an ocean with a small boat and one oar. Yet, he did it! He never touched alcohol again for the rest of his life.
His example is prominent in my mind when I feel something is too hard. Too hard? Anything I have to deal with pales in comparison. Knowing that this kind of strength is in my genes; my DNA; gives me courage to keep going and trying when faced with my own oceans or mountains. If Grandpa conquered his nemesis, so can I.