Memories: Honoring the Grandparents & Parents of Alert1

With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day almost here, we at Alert1 wanted to take a moment and honor our employee's parents and grandparents. Without their driving forces in our lives, we would not have grown into the individuals we are today. Our driving passion is to keep seniors safe and independent. Alert1 gives thanks to all our parents and grandparents. Without them, our passion for keeping your loved ones safe wouldn’t be a reality. 

Memories of Gram

Gram Greene

By Nicole Green 

My first childhood memory involves my maternal grandmother. I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. When I was able to spend the night at Gram’s house, it was always an exciting privilege. She lived in a tiny town that consisted of only a few hundred residents. Her home was a small, comfortable trailer nestled in the middle of tall trees and creeks. It was red and white with a beautiful enclosed porch and flowers all around. This particular memory awakens all of my senses.

I woke up one morning to the feeling of cool crisp mountain air on my face and the smell of bacon cooking. I then heard my grandmother singing along to a Patsy Cline album. She had the most beautiful voice. I stretched my arms out and jumped out of bed. I ran down the hallway and out to the kitchen. I patiently waited for breakfast to be done. As she cooked and sang, she was eating a huge piece of fruit I had never seen before. I asked her what it was and she said a grapefruit. Since I had no idea what it was or tasted like I asked to try it. She gladly accepted my request and gave me a spoon. I took one bite and spit it out. The taste was bitter and sour at the same time. I made a “sour face”, which caused my gram to laugh incessantly. I have not eaten a grapefruit since!

Thirty years later, I am now mourning her recent loss. She was an incredible grandmother. She was always happy to see me, laughed at all my quirkiness, and was such a gentle, kind, and loving person. I will forever cherish that first memory as well as the thousands of memories we have created throughout the years. 

Weekend Fun at Mema and Papa’s

By Micah Smiley

When I think back on my childhood, my fondest memory is Saturday night's with my grandparents. Every weekend I would pack up my bag and my mom would take the 30-minute drive to their house and drop me off. 

Once I arrived, the fun quickly followed. My Mema, as I call her, always made a great dinner and we sat at the table together. After dinner, I would take my shower and put on my nightclothes. Papa would usually watch the news, but Mema and I always played checkers or dominoes. Papa would go to bed while Mema and I stayed up late and watched America's Most Wanted and MASH. After our shows, I would be tucked into bed and drift off to dreamland.

Sunday mornings were the best! I would wake up to the smell of sausage and biscuits and run into the kitchen to eat breakfast. Mema and I would get ready for church and leave Papa at home. After church it was just us two as we went out somewhere for lunch. After lunch, we would pick up Papa and they would take me home. I never wanted my weekends with them to end!

I am so glad I got to spend the quality time with them that I did because I lost Papa when I was 21 and I now live 1000 miles away from Mema. I love looking back on these memories and realize now just how lucky I was!

My Ever-Giving Grandparents

Le Grandparents

By Tiffany Le

My grandma and grandpa are the best grandparents, ever. I’m sure everyone says that about their grandparents, which reaffirms my belief that people just get better with age.

My grandparents are the epitome of what “good grandparents” are, which means that they provide me with endless, unconditional love. It doesn’t matter if I haven’t seen them in years (they live out of state) or if I was being a “bad” girl—my grandparents always respond with love. They always make me feel like I am their favorite grandchild, even though they have more than 20 of them. My cousins will say the same thing—they think they’re our grandparents’ favorite. It’s amazing how my grandparents are able to make everyone feel that way. They must have a lot of love to give.

My fondest memories of my grandparents were when they used to babysit me over the summer. I would get home from summer school, and Grandma would ask me straightaway if I was hungry. Even if I said no, she would start whipping up her best meals just for me. She would find me, wherever I was in the house, with hands filled. My grandpa would be busy planting herbs in our garden. They used to live in Chicago, so when they came to visit us in California, they took advantage of the good weather and soil and blessed us with an herb garden. My family and I still harvest herbs from that garden to this day.

It seems that all my grandparents do is give. They give their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren whatever they can, whenever they can. They travel across the states to act as nannies to my newborn cousins, feed every mouth within their vicinity, and continuously offer their love and support. They’re completely selfless, and my role models. I hope that I’m just as amazing as them when I reach their age.

My Wonderful Pop Pop

Harper Grandfather

By AnnaMae Harper

There is not enough paper in the world for all of my great memories with my Pop Pop. He is an amazing grandfather and most of my childhood memories are great because they include him. I could go on and on about my memories of him reading the comics from the newspaper to me every weekend. (Even though I didn’t understand them.) I laughed and laughed because he laughed and laughed, or him taking me around the garden and explaining the flowers, or the beach. But I’m going to share his favorite memory that many close to me have heard many times because he gets so much enjoyment out of telling it.

Pop Pop loved reading to me. My favorite book was about a bunny and the seasons and I can still see the pictures in my head. I can’t tell you how many times he read it to me but one day when I was three,  I told him I would like to read it to him. So then I carried on reading it word for word. It took him a moment to realize that I was three and unable to read. He then had the realization that I memorized the whole book. It amazed him. Every time he tells it, his eyes light up and you can see the joy in his face.

I think that was the moment he decided he was going to teach me as much as he could since I was such a little sponge (as he says). I am forever grateful for that because without Pop Pop I would not be the person I am today

Camping Adventures with Dad

Wright Dad

By Sonja Wright 

When I was a kid, my dad and I spent a lot of time doing science experiments together. There was that one time when we made an active volcano, but we had to stage the eruption outside since my mom didn’t want a mess in the house. My dad also liked to take me camping, so we could learn about science and nature outdoors. (I’m pretty sure there were some lectures about Darwin in there too.) One of our favorite places to go camping was Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

One year when I was about six or seven, we went camping as usual. The second morning, my dad noticed that the loaf of bread for our picnic had been nibbled on. A small rodent had decided to embark on a midnight snack run the night before! Undeterred, he cut the nibbled part off and we went on with our day.

That night, after we fell asleep, I woke up in the middle of the night because I had to go to the bathroom. I heard something scuttling around when I went to get the flashlight to wake up my dad. I turned on the flashlight in time to see a mouse running around our cabin! I freaked out and jumped back into my sleeping bag while yelling at my dad that there was a mouse on the loose. I’ll never forget the sight of my dad (still half asleep) running around the cabin with an empty water bottle trying to catch that darned mouse.

And guess what—he caught the mouse!

My family had a great time hearing about our ‘adventure’ from that camping trip. It’s still one of my favorite stories to tell about my dad. 

My Heroes

By Peggy Probst

My memories of things about my parents involve way more than just one story. Honestly, my parents are my heroes. Just don’t tell them I said that! I say this because of a multitude of things they have done or experienced over the years.

First, they have been married for 53 years. They both say that they never considered divorce, even when things got hard. Growing up, my dad worked hard to provide for my two sisters and I, and my mom made sure that we always had what we needed. From sporting events to school activities, we never missed out on anything we wanted to do. Mom was always there to support us, and Dad was always working hard for the financing.

Both Mom and Dad have had health issues over the years. Mom with her multiple orthopedic surgeries and the loss of a leg. Dad suffering from type I diabetes for over 40 years. Most people would have slowed down, but not my parents! They are like the Energizer Bunny, they keep going and going! Both of them are in their mid-seventies and they continue their support with their grandchildren. My kids are fortunate to have a close relationship with my parents. From sporting events to school concerts to really anything they become involved in, my parents are there.    

Mom still enjoys going to lunch with her friends and shopping. She is more active as an amputee than anyone I have ever seen, and I used to be a nurse, so I've seen quite a few! Dad takes care of Mom. He was by her side through all of her surgeries and various illnesses. He still finds time to go to breakfast with his fishing buddies. Sometimes he takes time away to go fishing or hunting. I live with my parents, so I do whatever I can to help give my dad a break.

Life isn't always easy, and when mine became tough for me, I thank God that I had the role models I did growing up. I never gave up and my parents were the influence that I needed to get me through. Just don't tell them that I said that either!

Nanna and Pappy

Labate Grandparents

By Jourdan Labate

My Grandparents, who were high school sweethearts, were married for 53 years before my ‘Nanna’ recently passed at the beginning of the year. Their love is the kind of love I strive to have, married for 53 years and together for 57.

One of my favorite memories is one year at Easter dinner we were talking about pies. I had asked my Nanna what Pappy’s favorite pie was so I could make it for his birthday the following week. She told me it was Key Lime Pie and then began telling us all how Pappy really loved Key Lime Pie it was by far his favorite.

While she is telling us Pappy walks in laughing and Nanny who had zero patience with him snapped, “Well what so funny Pap!” Through his giggles he says, “I’ve never had a slice of Key lime Pie in my life” and boy does that make Nanny mad she says, “Well if you ever tried it, it would be your favorite!” 

Grandma’s Lesson

By Allison Taylor

One of my favorite memories with my grandparents is when I was younger I had been assigned a book report on “Old Yeller.” I had to read the book and put together a poster explaining the setting and plot of the story. Well, I came home and told my Nana and my Grandpa. My Nana and I started sitting and reading the book together right away.

About a week later, I came home from school and on the counter was the movie. My Nana wasn’t home so I knew it was my Grandpa that had purchased the movie. When she came home that night she just told me I could watch it, but that we still had to finish the book because the movie would differ from the book. I ended up mixing up the book and the movie anyway. If there was one thing that my grandmother taught me over everything else, is to always read the book first because it will be better than the movie.

Love Against All Odds

By Marius Wajdenfeld

My grandparents met during the war – WWII. They were both Russian and sent away to a Russian work camp in Siberia (yes those existed). They working making ammunition for the Red Army.

In the factory, they met and took a liking to one another so much so that they wanted to live their lives together and live their lives outside of a labor camp. They did what they could to meet without getting caught.

They passed messages to one another when they could. They absolutely fell in love and wanted a normal life, as normal of a life as one can have during a war.

They planned their own great escape. In the middle of the night, my grandfather was able to open the door to the dormitory that my grandmother was in. Find her and sneak her out. They knew of a location in the fences around the camp where they could sneak out and wasn’t heavily patrolled. This wasn’t a German concentration camp so the fences weren’t electrified and weren’t as guarded as they were with the Germans.

They made their way out of the fence. Ran in the dark of the night. Kept going for days until they reached the border of Poland. With the help of the Polish government, they were able to live in Poland.

They got married and my Uncle was born. At the end of the war my father was born. My grandmother went on to become a Nurse and my father was a taxi driver in Poland, as well as something of a smuggler bringing over food and electronics over from Germany when Poland was under Communist rule.

They moved to the states in 1975 and lived the American dream soon bringing me and my parents over. I have them to thank for being raised here in the US and the exciting stories my grandfather shared with me of his life.

Grandma’s Sweet Tooth

Anzalone Grandma

By Kayla Anzalone

When I was little, my sisters and I would go to my Grandma Nell’s house for weekend sleepovers. We loved Grandma’s house! She lived in a big community so we were free to explore the grounds and play many games of hide and seek with our cousins. After hours of running around, we would make our way back to Grandma’s house and she would be waiting with ice cream. But not any ice cream, always Dreyers® French Silk ice cream, Grandma’s favorite. Her six grandchildren were very excited to eat that great combo of chocolate, vanilla and chocolate chunks every time, to say the least.

At night, we would always gather around the T.V. to watch a movie or play some Super Smash Bros on my cousins’ Nintendo® 64. I would hear the freezer open and the Grandma would come walking up the stairs with bowls of French Silk in hand! Grandma definitely had a sweet tooth, and we sure didn’t mind.

Even when Grandma was in the hospital later in life, we brought her a slice of chocolate truffle cake and her eyes lit up. She loved sweets as much as she loved her family! Now every time I have French Silk ice cream, Grandma Nell comes to mind. 

My Amazing Grandparents

Smith Grandparents

By Crystle Smith

Everyone asks why grandparents are so amazing, and there is not definite answer. All I can do is give you my story of my simply amazing Grandparents!

My grandparents have been married for 52 years. They are opposite but the same like peanut butter and jelly. Grandma say left, Grandpa say right, but for some odd reason they will end up in the same place.

I love how when Grandma would get sick, and around the same time Grandpa would be sick too. I guess that the beauty of finding your mate. Someone who heart beat at the same pace as yours! My grandparents are the definition of true love. Their love is the very foundation that raised a beautiful large family. If it wasn’t for my Phat Jack and Grandpa Wampa there would have not been my mom or me! I thank my Grandparents from the bottom of my heart for being their own definition of perfect!

Sun Wheel

Caceros Grandma

By Andre Caceros

My family has always loved going to Disneyland. So in 2001 when Disney revealed that they were opening California Adventure, it was a big deal. I remember being only 6 years old when going there for the first time

I've been told that as a child I was very mischievous and energetic, but always well intentioned. There was just this certain joy I got from provoking people. This relates to going to California Adventure for the first time ever with my grandmother and it is my oldest memory with her.

On this fine day of fun and all things Disney, we reached the park's Ferris wheel, the Sun Wheel (now Mickey's Fun Wheel). If you do not know what the Sun Wheel is, I can briefly explain; it is the most terrifying Ferris wheel in all existence. Why do you ask? Well the gondola that you sit in while 160 ft. in the air, slides inward and outward as the wheel rotates. If you rocked it hard enough, it can almost do a complete 360-degree spin. This creates a terrifying and intense experience because it was like a 160 ft. tall swing.

So I stood in the line with my grandmother, and neither of us had any idea this was not your ordinary Ferris wheel. After a long wait it was finally our turn to ride it. We sat inside, began to rise up-- and that's when I discovered the ride's twist. I started with slow, easy rocking and my grandmother began to fear for her life. Worried we would fall out, she asked me to stop. Since I was a mischievous little boy, I rocked it harder. Each time I rocked harder, she asked me to stop. But I was having too much fun scaring her and swinging around, so what did I do? I rocked it as hard as my little body could manage. It got to the point that my grandmother was yelling at the top of her lungs, while kicking and screaming for me to stop. It was so much fun. The ride finished, and I knew I was going to be in trouble, but I didn't care. It was worth it.

To my surprise, my grandma actually enjoyed the terrifying experience with me. I actually didn’t get in trouble, but she vowed to never go on the ride with me ever again. To this day, my grandma and I still reminisce and laugh about our terrifying Sun Wheel experience. She's told me that she always thinks back to that moment when she thinks about how much I have changed since then, and I always think back to it as a fun moment with her that I will never forget.

Insights from Nana

By Anisha Agarwal

This piece is dedicated to my nana (aka my grandfather), Subhash Goel. Before I get into the lessons my grandfather taught me, let me share a quick side story. I was horrible at pronouncing words when I was younger. For example, I would say “tuck” instead of “truck” and “Janmary” for “January”. To this very day, my grandfather calls me on my birthday and excitedly says, “Guess what day it is…. It’s Janmary 7th!” This has become a family inside joke.

Now to the important part. My nana is the definition of success and a hero in my eyes. From India to the US, he worked tirelessly towards his goals to become an esteemed professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Michigan. This accomplishment allowed him to provide for his family and let his children pave their own path. He also wanted to make sure my brother and I understood the importance of hard work and humility as we embark on our journey.

Not everything comes easily and for free. He once shared a quote by Bill Gates to highlight the reality of hard work: “Sorry, you will not make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.” On a regular basis, my nana sends me a link to a video or an article as a reminder. I have to work hard to achieve success. And regardless of the type of success I achieve, I need to remain humble and be kind to all.

I always look forward to these insightful emails from my nana and hope to make him proud by embodying these characteristics. Thanks to my nana for making me a better person! 

Cupcake Treats

By Ryandeep Athwal

When reflecting on my childhood, some of my fondest memories are those that include my grandparents. I was raised by my grandparents who stayed home and babysat my brother and I while my parents would go to work. I would run errands with them during the day, and one particular errand stands out more than most.

Once a week my grandparents would go to the “Wonder Bread” bakery in Fremont and would treat me to a Hostess cupcake. This was the highlight of my week, knowing that I would get a dessert made the trip worth leaving my cartoons and videogames. I never would actually finish the cupcake, and in fact, I never really liked the cupcakes. I would only eat the icing then throw the rest away. However, I did not want to ruin a good thing so I never complained.

I later realized that the reason I would get the Hostess cupcake every time was because it came free after spending more than $20. I really just want to give a shout out to my grandparents for finessing that situation to the best of their ability. They knew the only way to get me out of the house to run errands was to reward me and I fell for it. I laugh about this to this day with them, and I will employ the same tactics against my grandkids.

Visits to Grandma’s

By Amanda Truong

When I was young, I lived in Northern California and my grandparents lived in Southern California. Each year my parents, siblings, and I would make a trip down to visit my grandparents. Although the 6-8 hour car ride was especially tedious for an 8-year-old child, I’d always looked forward to this trip for two specific reasons.

The first thing I looked forward to when visiting was my grandma’s cooking. I come from a very big family and have 9 aunts and uncles and over 15 cousins. Each time my family and I came to visit, the whole family would get together to help my grandma make three heaping pots of warm chicken porridge. It was always delicious and more than enough to feed the entire family.

The next thing I looked forward to was her little gifts. She’d always have a small toy, doll, or game to give me during my visit. In fact, she had a small gift for every single one of my cousins as well. Although they were just small gifts, it meant a lot to me that she never failed to have something ready for me when I came to visit, especially since she had so many grandchildren. Her small presents always put a cheesy smile on my face.

My Father’s Support

By Valerie O'Brien

My grandparents have been gone a long time and I just lost my mother last year. I am very close with my father, though.  He moved from Florida with me this year, when I came to Alert1.

We had a rocky relationship when I was a teenager, but nothing out of the realm of normal teenage/parent angst!  He has always supported me, even when he knew things would not end as I planned.  He allowed me to experience the good and bad times, all of which helped me grow into the person I am today – a confident, successful woman.  We recently bought a small RV to go camping in and I’m looking forward to see what adventures await us!

Ba Ngoai’s Sanctuary

By Kathy Vo

Ba Ngoai (“Grandma” in Vietnamese) considers her bedroom to be her sanctuary. It has everything she needs: a bed to sleep, a TV to watch her variety shows, and a comfy chair to relax.

So when her three adult grandchildren invade her bed, it’s no surprised that Ba Ngoai gets annoyed. She has every right to feel that way; we’ve been doing this for as long as we remember. We would jump on her beds, tackle each other, and yap about random things with Ba Ngoai. It was cute when we were tiny toddlers. As three adults, we push each other off the bed easily.

My grandma doesn’t understand why we still do this; we’re too big for the bed. Little does she know that we consider her room our sanctuary too. We have fond memories in Ba Ngoai’s room. My brother did all his Key Club prep in her room. We watched Ken Jenning’s 74-day streak on Jeopardy. My sister opened her college acceptance emails in that room. I spent sick days lying on her bed. We watched Paris by Night 200+ times. We even recovered from our saddest moments in Ba Ngoai’s room.

These may seem like small moments, but to us, they add to precious time with my grandma. As adults, we rarely see Ba Ngoai. My siblings, being 5+ hours away for college, only see her every few months. Even though I live with her, I work half the day and only see her for a few minutes at a time. On weekends, I’m often out and about with friends. The rare time all three of us are home, we like to spend it with Ba Ngoai and her room.

Ba Ngoai will glare and grumble about how much she hates it. But deep down, she’s amused by our invasions. Until she actually locks the door, we’ll happily get together in her room like little kids again.

Calls from Grandma Chin

By Shelly Flexer

A memorable time for me is when my Gram Chin would call me at work and leave a message for me to stop and cut her toenails. She would make a call to Alert1 at least once a week and when I was on the phone, it didn’t matter who answered, me calling her back was not an option!

God rest her soul, she felt my coworkers were family too and boy you never knew what was going to come out of her mouth! I miss her and her phone calls; she definitely had her spunk and was not afraid to use it. Alert1 is my work family and I felt good she could trust them like I do. 

Grandma’s Love and Support

Montero Grandma

By Matt Montero

This is my amazing grandma. She has always provided love and support for her entire family.  When I was a child, she would always attend my sporting and music events. Now, she tells me about all the events she attends for my younger cousins. She makes sure she misses as few events as possible when her grandchildren are competing or performing. The amount of energy that my grandma is able to put towards her grandchildren and children is amazing.

My grandma has never missed a family occasion. The four big ones my family holds is Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and, of course, Mother’s Day. All of her efforts has shown me how important family is and how she is a wonderful role model for all of her kids.  As we (the grandchildren) become older, our schedules become busier, but there is always time to spend with family. Distance and time should never be a family issue.

Memories of My Grandmother

By Jaime Leigh Roupp

Some people look at super heroes or athletes as their heroes; my grandmother on the other hand was mine. She was a single mother of four working her hands to the bone to make sure her children were well taken care of to the best of her ability.  She never became discouraged despite the fact that back then it was unheard of for a woman to be single raising a family.

After she raised her children, she then became a loving grandmother to nine grandchildren.  I had the honor of spending every single weekend with her. We spent the weekends going to the movies, road trips, playing Barbie’s, and building forts out of blankets in the living room.  She even let me have milkshakes stands and sell lemonade for all the other kids in the neighborhood.

I continued to spend time with her until I became a mother myself and then my children became just as close to her as I was.  She retired from her career not once but twice because she loved her job so much and was well loved by many.

At the age of 87, she was still walking to work every day and she was such a fighter. She raised us all with God in our hearts, morals in our soul, and to be kind, even if the world is not so kind to us. Sadly, she went to be with God on September 11, 2016 and it was the saddest day of my life. I know she is looking down on all of us smiling proud and I will live my life with the values she instilled in me. 

My Courageous Grandparents

Natalie Grandparents

By Natalie McCafferty

How can we ever say thank you for everything our parents and grandparents have done to make our lives easier and richer?  My grandparents met at Hecla Park skating rink at the age of 18, in 1955. They married at the age of 19, prior to having four children of their own.  My grandfather is a Veteran of the Korean War and then worked for Piper Aircraft for 31 years, prior to retiring.  My grandmother worked just as hard, not only raising four children, but she also worked a full time job at Armstrong.  At the age of twenty-eight, my mother had passed away, during this time, my father worked out of town to support his children.

My grandparents were two courageous and loving people, to have offered to raise my younger sister, whom was six, and myself.  They gave us love, stability, and security. We are very grateful to have such caring grandparents in our lives.  We cannot thank them enough for what they have done for us and have taught us.  They are two very strong people, especially, putting up with our antics.  Their words that they are remembered by and bring a smile to our faces, my grandfather, B-A-S-S, breath, aim, squeeze, shoot, and my grandmother, if they don’t it, don’t look at it.