At the Knees of My Grandparents

I always loved when Grandma and Grandpa Egbert came to visit. Climbing into bed and snuggling between them, I always fought off sleep to ask, “Tell me a story from when you were little, please?” Soon I could tell the stories better than they could, and I could remember the details that they had forgotten. After I had grown too big to snuggle in between them, I often reflected on those stories they shared and drew wisdom from them. I believe we can draw strength from our grandparents’ experiences.

Why wait to learn for ourselves the lessons our grandparents already learned? All we have to do is ask. I have heard family stories help children to better understand other’s emotions and thoughts. They help teenagers to feel connected and grounded. Family stories can even help adults to remember more and become better storytellers. Who doesn’t want that?

Grandma often told stories of falling from barn windows, two stories up. Or, passing out in school only to wake up long after the class had been dismissed. I often wondered what others thought when this had happened and why no one had helped her. I have found myself hovering close to those hurt or distraught, trying to help and soothe them. I’d like to think I’m helping out because I wished someone had been there to help or comfort my grandma.

Grandpa was always busy doing something like fixing things or getting his crops to grow. Whenever they came to visit, he always fixed what was broken and made my toys “better” in some way. Grandpa’s bedtime stories were usually about life on the farm. He grew up on a farm in Idaho, then homesteaded a farm in Washington. Hard work was forever in his life. I love being innovative like him and fixing things that people think can’t be fixed. I’d like to think I get that from Grandpa, that I learned the value of hard work from him.

My other grandpa, Grandpa Papenfuss, taught at Ricks College and I remember him behind his desk in the office down the long hallway. Even now, years after he has retired and died, people stop me to ask if he was my grandpa. When I say yes, they start telling me stories about him wandering behind students and making them too nervous to type, or of him helping out a student who had fallen on hard times. When I think of all the good I saw my grandpa do while teaching, I know why I enjoy teaching others as well.

My other grandma, Grandma Papenfuss, sews all the time. She can make any clothing item you want, plus blankets and pillows and stuffed animals. I remember heading to her house to show her a new pattern for a dress or skirt I wanted to make. I enjoyed spending the afternoon with her as we sewed and talked about her family. Most visits ended with a homemade dinner. I love that she showed me the joy in home keeping.

Some nights, as my five-year-old snuggles in his bed in between me and his bear, he remembers to ask me for a story about his grandma great or his grandpa great when they were his age. I smile, remembering those precious nights when I snuggled in with my grandparents to learn the life lessons I base my life on now.

I believe the time to learn from our grandparents is now. There is so much we can learn from them. I learned compassion, hard work, the love of teaching and homemaking, and so much more from my grandparents. Yes, there is much I will have to learn on my own, but for now, learning these lessons have enriched my life.

And this is why I share my family history with my children.


(This blog post has been included in the Family Locket’s blog link up for March 21, 2017. Come check out why some other people share family history with children by clicking here.)



  1. Devon Noel Lee says:

    For someone who doesn’t have cherished memories of her grandparents, I love these stories. I hope you’ll keep sharing them with your children because they really do matter and teach families how to be strong families.

    • Camille says:

      I’m so sorry you don’t have any memories with your grandparents! 🙁 I consider these memories some of my most precious possessions. Thanks for reminding me how special they are.

  2. Amy Archibald says:

    Your post caused me to remember the time I asked my grandmother why her middle finger was bent crooked. I am so thankful that she took the time to tell me. I learned that she was a high school basketball star and that the injury came from long ago days of playing basketball. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that my grandma played basketball. Though I knew her to be very athletic – she bowled, golfed and pitched horseshoes in national and world events.

    • Camille says:

      Amy, I’m so glad you asked her about her finger. Your grandma sounds like such a fun lady! Do/Did any of her children or grandchildren (or great-grandchildren) play basketball?

  3. Amberly says:

    Oh, I love this post Camille. I have such special memories of my grandparents and they are really the fuel that runs my passion for genealogy. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Alexis Maurer says:

    What a great tribute to your grandparents! This was fun to read. And I smiled that your son is now asking you for the stories! Family history really can enrich all of our lives, especially children!

  5. Sid Egbert says:

    Thank you Camille for the wonderful memories you have shared. I love the question: “Why do we do it?” Why are these memories so important to pass on to our children? I was contemplating this question while on my mission at BYU last Wednesday. I asked a fellow missionary why he thought that the Church included such items as Audio, Photos and Stories as well as documents on the Lord’s Tree? I was not being negative, I just wondered why our ancestors have not had equal access to pictures, audio recordings and electronic devices as we have had in these last days. As my fellow missionary said that he really didn’t know, it came apparent to me why it was so. This generation needs it! It’s a tool offered to us to keep us safe from the evils of this present day society and evils that plague our families. Not only does the Family Tree give us a place to store, protect and share with others our precious pictures, stories and audio recordings, It also provides links to Pinterest, Facebook, and other social sites. I thought of my grandpa and father when they lived in Oakley and Murtaugh, Idaho, and how their social life was so different from ours today. We, in 2017, have mass media, electronic devices and unparalleled transportation options that shrink the world and put the world at our front door in a way our forefathers could not have dreamed. I think of Lehi’s dream and all the masses that were lost in the fog, just wandering around. The tools offered by Family Search Family Tree will help give our children the means to find their direction and keep them within our reach to protect and love them. Family Tree Audio, Photos, Stories, and Documents help us to bring our families together, keep them together, and provide protection to them in a way only the Lord could prescribe. Why do we do it? We do it to keep us safe.

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