Chloe loves Grandpa Geilman because he has Cassie and she loves to pet dogs. She loves when she slept at his house. Last year, when we made apple juice, Grandpa lifted her up so she could help. She loves him because he’s always nice, has a collection of glowing balls, and he’s fun to play with. Chloe talks about Grandpa Geilman all the time, and gets tears in her eyes when she talks about how much she misses him. Chloe would love to go fishing with Grandpa Geilman one day.
Addie loves Grandpa Geilman’s toys. She loves the piggies he makes (everything lately has to do with Piggies). Addie loves eating ice cream at Grandpa’s.
Maggie also loves Grandpa Geilman for his dog.
Bracken's memory of Wayne Geilman.
Asking your future father in-law for his first born daughter’s hand in marriage can be an interesting thing. I remember it quite vividly. I had never learned to drive a stick shift, and during a visit to Utah Ruth told me how good her father was at teaching people to drive a manual transmission. I had tried learning from my own Dad, but he was not very patient and explained how to drive a stick shift by saying, “you just do it”.
However, Wayne, knew just what to say and do. I felt the whole time that this would be my one opportunity to talk to Wayne about my intentions during our trip. Let’s just say I felt a little nervous and distracted trying to not stall the car and catch the gears in the right “spot”. Wayne talked about the intricacies of a manual transmissions, I tried to pay attention figuring out how to talk to him about Ruth and our futures together. The fact that Wayne is this big imposing guy (at least I felt that way at the time) added to my nervousness. After a while of driving around and lots of nice words of encouragement, it was decided to just make circles in a nearby church parking lot. Eventually Wayne decided to get out of the car and let me practice on my own.
At the time I thought he was done with me, but now I think he knew that I was nervous and that the best way I would learn would be on my own. None the less, after our driving lesson, we found ourselves walking back into the house. There were only a few more feet before the front door and we were no longer alone. My opportunity would be gone. I needed to talk to him alone. I don’t remember what I said but I just remember stopping him in the front of the house in the most awkward of places. I made my last ditch effort to mention to Wayne my intentions to marry Ruth and that I would soon be proposing to her in the coming months and that this would be my only opportunity to talk to him in person before that time.
I really don’t recall whatever excruciatingly awkward words emanated from my mouth. But I do remember what Wayne’s response was. Wayne paused for a moment (I think he was a bit surprised at what I was saying most likely because I hadn’t mentioned anything during the entire driving lesson) and said, “Bracken, we would love to have you as part of our family.” I immediately felt at ease. We entered the house and Ruth was fixing her hair in the bathroom or something. “How did the lesson go?” Wayne, made some casual banter and then we shared a knowing look unbeknownst to Ruth. The rest is as they say history.
I love you Wayne. Happy Birthday!
And finally, me.
It’s really hard for me to sift through all my memories of Dad and come up with just a few to share.
My earliest memories of Dad are of him coming home from work, or school, when we lived in Wellsville, and playing airplane on the living room floor. Dan and I, and eventually, Sarah, would take our turn to fly, land, and then quickly run back around for more. In my memory, these sessions would last forever, but Dad would keep playing with us no matter now tired he was. And we are always accompanied by “Barbara Ann” and “Do Wa Diddy.”
Another significant memory I have of Dad actually involves what I don’t remember. We were living in Mississippi, and Dad was trying to speed through his doctorate. So, he was going to school full time, occasionally traveling out of town to consult, taking care of Mom when he was home, and serving at church. What I don’t remember is him being absent. I don’t know how he did it, but even with all that on his plate, he was always there. And I’ll never forget, when that dissertation was finally done, sitting around the kitchen table helping him assemble it. We had gotten our first computer while he was in school, but were still using an electric typewriter for the printer. Every line had to be measured to make sure it didn’t extend too far into the margin. Every graph had to be cut out, glued in placed, the edges taped over, and white out dabbed over the lines so that the seams wouldn’t show when it was copied. The smallest mistake could result in his dissertation getting rejected. But I still remember having fun as a family as we helped him.
I remember driving with Dad to early morning seminary in San Luis Obispo. As we drove around town, picking up various kids before we headed to the church, I’d often slip a tape into the tape deck of Toad Wort. The volume would usually be pretty low, and I could often barely hear the music. As far as Dad was concerned, it wasn’t even music. More than once he would ask us all to be quiet so he could hear better because he was sure the car was breaking down judging by the bad noises he thought were originating in the engine. In my defense, it was only U2’s Achtung Baby that usually caused him alarm.
Once we got to the church, Dad would work in his office while we were in class. Then we would all load back up and he would take us to school. If we happened to rest our eyes on the way, he would silently detour off of California Blvd. over to Pepper Street, and speed up a little. We sure woke up quickly when our heads hit the roof of the car as he caught air on that hill. And yet once I started driving, he wasn’t impressed when I told him how you couldn’t even feel the speed bumps in the school parking lot if you drove over them fast enough.
When I moved to Los Angeles after college, Dad followed a few weeks later with a trailer full of my stuff (sound familiar to anyone else?). When he arrived, he asked me to call the Elder’s Quorum President and ask him for help unloading the trailer. Having not hit it off well with the EQP, my response was, “Dad, I’m stronger than he is.” In retrospect, maybe Dad was inspired in wanting to enlist the help of my future husband, but somehow we managed to move a 500 hundred pound (give or take) desk up two flights of stairs and into my apartment all by ourselves.
Once Bracken and I had started dating, though, it was super important to me that I get Dad’s approval of him. Though my patriarchal blessing tells me to follow the advice of my parents, as always, I’d had to learn the hard way to follow that counsel. Though I wanted them to meet as soon as possible, I couldn’t convince Bracken to come to Utah the day after Christmas for Dad and Vicky’s wedding. So Dad and Vicky stopped by for dinner on their honeymoon. I still remember what I served that day, and I apologize. I have gotten much better in the kitchen.
The day after Bracken and I got married, we stopped by the house to pick up our gifts on the way to our honeymoon. As he did every school year, or at other significant times, Dad decided he needed to give us father’s blessings. Bracken’s dad is not a member of the church, but because we had been sealed in the temple, Dad could now give Bracken the first father’s blessing of his life. I felt so blessed to have a father who both honored his priesthood and felt impressed to share that power with my husband.
Finally, my most recent favorite memory of Dad came last Christmas. We were staying at his house for the holidays. It was Maggie’s, and Emma’s, first Christmas. We were all downstairs, trying to keep the girls as quiet as possible, for as long as possible, so as not to wake Dad and Vicky. Little did we know Dad was upstairs, eagerly listening for any sound, impatiently whispering to Vicky, “I think the girls are awake! I think they’re going to come upstairs soon!” I’m really not sure who was the most excited about Christmas that day.
I sure do love you, Dad. I’m so grateful for the example you’ve been to me, the love you’ve shown me, and the many ways you’ve blessed my life. I know I wouldn’t have found such a great husband if I hadn’t had your example to lead me. I’m a better parent because of your guidance. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you, but know I’m thinking about you from here.