The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

First Born Grandson To Graduate

by Dessa Rodeffer, Publisher

May 12, 2010

Sunday is my grandson Drew Postle's high school graduation and it seems to have come as quickly as his birth, which was a month a head of schedule. Drew, as my first grandchild, forced me to wear the word "Grandma."

I remember wondering how I would feel as a Grandparent and if it would be any different than being a parent.

It's amazing, how close you feel to a child that belongs to one of your children. It's almost like a thread runs right through your heart to your child's and on through to your grandchild. It's a bond that is just there and you know it the minute you hold them for the first time.

For Drew and me, there were short trips together which began when I would drive him to Sunday School. I remember the countless questions, and the curiosity he had for everything. He noticed trains, telephone poles, the electric wires and cables they carried. Later, he was curious about the history of our town and had ideas for preserving its history.

Soon we were traveling to visit aunts, uncles and cousins and the conversations were longer. I took him on his first airplane ride out of Cedar Rapids to Tulsa and we talked all day as each flight was cancelled due to storms. Finally, the very last flight was a go and we were boarding. Drew was excited, and I remember lifting off in the second plane out of St Louis as the lightening gave quite a show across the sky. I was hiding my fears as Drew said "Wow, that's cool!"

A few years later, I asked Drew if he wanted to travel to Keokuk, Iowa and see the Civil War enactment of the Battle of Pea Ridge. The shooting of cannons and guns were louder than he liked, but since that time, he has had a strong interest in the Civil War and eventually talked his parents into vacationing in Gettysburg and other historic places.

I think our favorite trips have been to the Galesburg Railroad Days. Knowing his passion for trains, I was so excited to take him because we were going to be able to ride an old steam engine. It turned out to be more fun than either of us knew as there were train enthusiasts from all over who were real railroad buffs and Drew was impressing them with his deep knowledge about trains and railroad history. We even toured an old mail car where retired workers told of sorting our weekly newspapers into bags for their final destination. The last time Drew and I went to Railroad Days was in high school after he was injured at the beginning of football season. He had crutches and a cast and a wheel chair, but we still had fun. On one of my travels to St. Louis, and Union Station, I bought him a small scale train set which he has built into a village this past year adding many schools, cars, bridges and buildings including a G.E. factory to represent his dad's workplace.

Sunday in church, our guest minister preached how life is like taking a train ride. Many times we build to the event, such as Graduation, a promotion, a new car, more money, thinking that is what will finally make us happy. But he pointed out, that it is really the preparation, the climb, the ride, or the journey to that destination that is the treasure.

My journey with Drew has surely been that. So, I am just going to think of high school graduation as a via point along the way to more treasures that I hope Drew and I will find. As he moves on to the University of Illinois I hope we will continue to share stories or trips, maybe to ballgames.

I did take him, along with classmates Jesse Sams, and Mike Lewis, to their first Illini football game. It was the first game without the Chief against WIU. I was apprehensive, but it was an adventure to say the least. The guys wanted to stay the night and I said okay,...if they had the money.

To my surprise they pooled their money and we booked a room. Somehow, I ended up with a roll-away and they had the king size bed. They ended up in our Suite's Jacuzzi after the pool closed and the pictures I took are priceless. I have been waiting all this time to share one with my readers and add my, congratulations and thanks for the memories to Drew, Jesse, Mike and all the 2010 grads. :It's definitely the journey along the way that's the most fun!

August 2007, enjoying the hotel hot-tub in Champaign is my grandson Drew Postle (far back) and his friends Mike Lewis center, and Jesse Sams (front) in a Champaign hotel after attending their first Illini football game - first homegame without the Illini Chief.

From left: Mike Lewis, Drew Postle, Jesse Sams at the U of I stadium - U of I vs. WIU August 2007.