Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A journey

Bonnie and Gil
C. grandparents were married for 65 years. His grandfather Gil, served in the Second World War as pilot, after deciding that he was getting off too easy by teaching skiing to the troops in the home front. The family lore has it that he flew over Germany 27 times, a feat not many pilots succeeded in and returned home safe and sound.

After the war Bonnie and Gil moved to remote Kodiak Island in Alaska, had five kids and raised them in a shack with blankets for windows and very few amenities. He was a bush pilot, a teller of tales, a man of many talents, part of a family of fiddlers from Kaustinen, a town in Finland known for its folk musicians. Together he and Bonnie built a life that required the kind of resilience and adventurous spirit us younger generations can only be in awe of.

Last Tuesday morning he passed away, lighting out for his final adventure and today we travel to Seattle to say our farewells. I hope to hear lots of good stories.

16 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about his passing. It sounds like he had quite an amazing life. My condolences for you and yours.

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  2. Milla I'm so sad to hear of his passing. What an interesting man he was! I'm sure you will hear so many wonderful stories. When I saw his picture, his uniform, my heart skipped a beat. My dad was in the USAF as well, identical uniform - aren't we proud of them? ~Siobhan

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  3. Sorry to hear about C's granddad, but what a beautiful testament to his very adventurous life :)

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  4. please give C. my condolences, and i give them to you as well. grandparents are so special, and i miss mine everyday. i'll be thinking of you guys on your travels, and of C's grandpa on his travels.

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  5. aw, fare thee well, gil. here's to a life well lived and a grandson and grandaughter who are living their own story-worthy lives of adventure. much love to both of you and safe journeys. xoxo

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  6. Oh wow, I know you will hear lots of good stories, I am very sorry for you lose, I pray that you all have a safe trip.

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  7. i hope that you hear the stories that explain the bright, beautiful, sly expressions on those faces ;)
    sending condolences, hugs, and wishes for a safe trip...
    xo

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  8. Thank you Milla, this is beautifully said. I'm so glad you got to know him if even for a little while. Over time we will tell you much more about him, and his funny, crazy, and sometimes hair raising stories.

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  9. Much love to you, C and C's family. May you learn a bounty.

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  10. Wow. What a beautiful couple and a beautiful life. I feel like I can see a snippet of Charlie in both sets of mischievous eyes :) Hope stories, love and laughter fill your hearts during this time.

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  11. I remember you telling us about him. What a life lived and what a beautiful couple.

    That you and C. have that ancestral connection of place through the fiddlers of Kaustinen brings a smile to my face too, it somehow just seems right :)

    Sending love to C. and his family, and you of course.

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  12. A beautiful tribute to a life well spent. Condolences and love to you all

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