POST 50
09/04/2014 07:51 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This Is Why Grandparents Are The Most Important People

With Grandparents Day coming up on Sunday, Sept. 7th, Huff/Post 50 decided to take a moment to celebrate the incredible contributions grandparents have made to our lives. We asked you to tell us about your own grandparents -- and your own grandchildren. We were inundated with inspiring stories. Featured below are just 16 amazing grandparents. On Friday, we'll publish stories from grandparents about their grandchildren. From what we've seen, grandparents aren't ready for the sidelines. They want to be active, engaged, involved and appreciated. Happy Grandparents Day everyone!

Ashley Holden's grandmother -- Mary Jane Holden
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"'Boop-e-doop’ is the sound of our beloved Grandmother, Momo, in the kitchen, whipping up her family-famous French toast. Her main ingredient: love. At 91, she inspires ladies in her fitness class and still crawls around on the floor to play with kids. For 50 years, she has slept in curlers and used her secret rinse-in-a-bottle to achieve the perfect golden hue, setting an example to always look your best, because ‘you never know who you are going to meet.’ Momo makes friends with strangers in store lines and has a knack for scoring bargains from clerks on her purchases. Momo doles out dating advice: always choose a partner who is well groomed, has good morals and family values. Popo was a lucky man to be her husband for over 60 years. She attributes a long-lasting marriage to the ability to compromise."

Kate Hoerster's grandfather -- Grandpa Kent
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"Grandpa Kent’s table, rugged and smelling of warm leather, was the heart of his Guadalajara home. This was where I grew to love his deep, steady voice and his kind and playful eyes. This was the place I learned of the joys in his life. And of his sorrows. To me, he was heroic, and not because he was shot down and survived (twice!) while serving in the Air Force during World War II. But because he chose, while living in Texas in the 1940s, to honor himself and love another man. Unquestionably, this brought pain to the mother of his young son, a brave woman herself. But to not honor himself likely would have brought a different sort of pain to each of them, a slow and steady pain throughout their lives. Instead, he gave my grandmother a chance at true love; she eventually married a Texas cowboy (he even had a bobcat for a pet!). And he gave himself that same gift. At the end of his life, Grandpa Kent's face was lined with deep wrinkles, marked by years of Mexican sunshine, cigarettes, and lots of joy. There is this amazing way that love, when bountiful and chosen, is reflected far and wide. His way of loving so fully is reflected in the way our family loves one another, and in the ways our family shares love with those beyond the boundaries of its walls. Each of my grandparents made indelible impacts on our family. This was his."

Lee Ann Nye's grandmother -- Lillie Belle Wall
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"We lost her in 2008 at the age of 95. This picture is such an inspiration to me. She and her husband could no longer drive, so they got a little scooter. She had one of her hips replaced at age 80 so that she could keep dancing! And dance she did! I think of her every day. One memory of her that I replay frequently was her grabbing my hand and looking up at me and telling me to 'be happy'! Until then, I didn't know that I wasn't happy. I replay that memory when I need to be reminded to 'be happy'. Thank you, Grandma!!!"

Kathleen Taylor's grandmother -- Joyce Moody McGraw
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"At some point I realized that my grandmother made me. She's a beautiful walking contradiction. She taught me to properly use silverware at dinner parties, cross my legs while seated, and speak appropriately to my elders. But she also taught me to fish, camp, and ride a bike. She is the picture of a Southern Lady, and yet a fierce feminist, who instilled that I alone am in charge of my body and my choices. She drove me to ballet lessons and brought flowers to recitals, but she also took me to tour universities, historic sites, and battlefields. She comforted me through my teenage years, and helped me find my backbone in my twenties. Now, in my thirties, she is my friend; a fiercely loyal companion in a way that only a grandmother can be. I watch her with my two little girls -- having tea parties, blowing bubbles, and riding bikes -- and I know how fortunate I am. How fortunate they are. It’s like watching my childhood on replay, and it’s beyond special."

Sarah Quick's grandfather -- Robert Boone
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"I am a 35-year-old, single mom of a pretty fantastic 19 month old. After my dad died suddenly and my grandmother died of complications from Alzheimer's, my Grandpa (now 85) moved in with with my mom (recently turned 60). Despite their busy, very active lives, when I had my baby and realized I'd be doing it 100 percent alone, they convinced me to move in also. We live in a four-generation house, and the saying 'it takes a village' is so us. One single tiny human being had taken over our lives and brought HAPPY back to this family. They are so amazing, I could go on for weeks. If anyone should be honored for Grandparents Day, it is my baby's YiaYia (Greek for grandma) and her Great Papa! They are my daughter Emma's very best friends. They deserve the world and more."

Kevin Hagan Jr.'s grandmother -- Joyce Hagan
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"I learned a long time ago to never seek or accept advice from people who aren’t where I want to be in life; which is why I only get advice from my grandmother, Joyce Hagan. She epitomizes strength and perseverance. She is a humble woman who will always create a place in her heart for anyone left lonely and I often find myself seeking her counsel, her guidance, and her shoulder when I need it. My grandmother became a widow when she was 30 years old after my grandfather died in a horrific accident on his job. The shock of that, the loss of her mother five months earlier, and the idea of raising five children ages 4 months to 12 years old would’ve overwhelmed most people, but not my grandmother. She picked herself up, dusted herself off, and made no time for self-pity or complaints and she went to work. Leaving home every morning at dusk to cook at the hospital. She was to give her children a safe and stable home life, clothes on their backs and food on the table. I still marvel at how she did it. My grandmother is my best friend. The time I’ve spent in her kitchen, partaking in her wisdom and catching a good Sidney Poitier movie on TV are some of the greatest moments of my life. It’s a shame that all people don’t know the love that I know from grandmother. If they did we’d be a better world."

Evan Lovett's grandmother -- Beatrice Biddle
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"My grandmother, Beatrice Biddle (Meema to the family), is 94 years old and is truly an inspiration to our entire family. As a soft-spoken matriarch, she has enriched our lives through her wisdom, knowledge and approach to life. Gleaned through the experience of her nine-plus decades, beginning with her hard-scrabble adolescence as the daughter of a grocery proprietor during the depression, continuing through the marriage of a Holocaust-surviving refugee, she has always displayed quiet strength and an approach befitting her mantra, 'I Keep Going.' Beginning each day with 30 minutes of calisthenics, a cup of coffee and the L.A. Times, Meema has kept active both physically and mentally. My wife and I recently had our first child, Felix. We take him to visit Meema as often as possible, hoping that he can realize -- even spiritually -- what an inspiration this wonderful woman really is to the family."

Kathleen Jimenez' father -- Eli Jimenez
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"Eli was a science teacher and coach for 35 years. Since retiring, he has become an artist and more specifically a print maker. He lives alone, gardens, cooks, reads, sings in a community chorus and writes poetry. He has good genes but more importantly he lives with such spirit -- intentionally making each day a good day. He doesn’t look 87 years old! He is the only grandfather his seven grandchildren ever knew (and now the only surviving grandparent). His childlike spirit delighted them when they were young because he truly knew how to play with them. From him they learned about tide pools, the stars, caves, butterflies and how to tell a magical story."

Cathy Chester's grandmother -- Frances Cole
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"Sometimes there are angels among us and you don’t realize it until after they’re gone. That was not the case with my grandmother. Nanny, my maternal grandmother, lived with us for 10 years. She taught my friends and me how to sew Barbie dresses, created the most delicious stuffed cabbage I’ve ever tasted, meticulously washed and ironed our clothes, and patiently repeated, upon my request, the same story about her escape as a little girl from czarist Russia. The youngest of six children, my grandmother’s life was often a difficult one, but you’d never know it. Her Hebrew name was 'Fagel' meaning 'bird', a perfect name for her because she was petite, lovely and lit from within. She treated everyone with kindness, and it showed in the way people adored her. Our rabbi loved her; she was a faithful congregant. When I asked her why she needed to fast for her sins on Yom Kippur, believing she had none, she’d answer, 'Because I carry a pocketbook on Shabbat.' Indeed. Nanny looms large in my life to this day. I learned by her example to be kind to others, show compassion for the less fortunate, and to never leave home without lipstick. She always dressed like a lady, took care of her flawless skin with Pond’s Cold Cream, and loved to laugh. After she passed away, I had a dream we were stretching our hands to grasp one another. Although she is gone now, we will always be holding hands."

Amity Paye's grandmother -- Eleanor Magid
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"My grandma, Eleanor Magid, is an artist, photographer and graphic designer. Many of her paintings and prints focus on the idea of a peaceable kingdom. With this project she has encouraged artists and people who view her to envision pathways to creating a more peaceful world. When Trayvon Martin was killed, my grandmother could tell I was very upset. She came with me to the million hoodies march and talked to some of my friends about her own ideas of a peaceable kingdom, a society that not only included equality and justice but also synergy among people with varying experience. It was one of the most radical and effecting things I have ever seen someone do. My grandma is also something of a tech wiz, and good thing too, she knows how to maneuver the social media around these protests as well as anyone my age. She keeps everyone around her on their toes, challenging our ideas about the world and how we should change it, both in both the analog and the digital world."

Alanna Vagianos' grandfather -- Horace Bogle
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"My grandpa's name is Horace, but we call him PopPop. Being one of seven grandchildren I didn't really get to know my PopPop until I was older. It wasn't until I was in college and my parents, sister, PopPop and I spent time down the shore over the summers that I became not just close with my grandfather but we became friends. While his health is beginning to fail him, at 93 years old the man is sharper than I am. He served in WWII, raised five children and walked a mile every day to stay fit. And while he has more knowledge and wisdom than anyone I've ever met, it's not his years of experience that are my favorite part of him. My favorite part about my grandfather is that he doesn't treat me like his youngest grandchild -- he treats me like a best friend. His ability to laugh at himself, even through some of his hardest times, is absolutely inspirational to me and is a lesson I will carry with me throughout my entire life. Hopefully one day I will be listening to books on tape, sitting in some sunshine on the front enclosed porch surrounded by all of my family members."

"TODAY" show national correspondent Craig Melvin's grandmother -- Grandma Florence
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"Growing up in Columbia, SC, we lived about seven minutes from Grandma Florence, but going to her house was like taking an adventure to a far-away magical land where pancakes were the official food and my personality blossomed. I couldn’t get enough of my grandma. I’d beg to visit at work in the evenings where she spent most of her professional life as a custodian and I’d beg to stop by her house early and often on weekends, much to the disgust of a teenage aunt and uncle who liked to sleep in. My fondest memories were our after church routine. From knee-high to 13, I actually sang in the choir to be closer to grandma and since that wasn’t enough, I connived and convinced my way home with her most Sundays. I loved our time together because I was the kind of kid who talked a lot and didn’t like to sit still. She let me yap away and run around. She also taught me the supreme joy of laughter. My grandma’s folksy wit and raw honesty would leave you teary-eyed. She didn’t try to be funny, but just couldn’t help it. When Grandma Florence died in December, I lost my Sunday sidekick and our family lost its matriarch, but we’re grateful for all the memories created by a woman who lived a sometimes hard life with grace, dignity, and a smile."

Ana Sheila Victorino's grandparents -- Pablo Alfonso Lopez and Hilaria Lopez Sanchez
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"This November, my abuelitos will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. They fully embody love in such a beautiful manner that is largely derived from their Mexican culture that values putting family first and keeping family close. You can see this expression of love in the way they care for and always stand by each other but also in how they care for their seven children and 17 grandchildren. This love is reciprocated in such a way that my grandparents are always surrounded by family, and I believe this to be a big part of the reason for their health and longevity at 90 and 91. My abuelito used to drive me home from school for some time when I was little and I fondly our conversations. He would humor my insatiable thirst for knowledge about our roots, Latin American history, politics, and faith with his his own unending bank of knowledge and wisdom. I will always treasure those rides home just as I treasure my abuelita's delicious meals and their constant encouragement and support."

Denise Osso's grandmother -- Gladys Rowlands Walther
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"When I think of my Grandma Gladys, I smell pot roast. We are in her kitchen in Rochester, New York, a spotless sanctuary with a worn linoleum floor and a little door in the wall where the milkman put the milk and eggs. She is wearing an apron, of course. And so am I. My grandmother did not own a cookbook. With just a fourth-grade education, she had no use for things that were written down. As a young woman in Scranton, Pennsylvania , she worked as a cook in an orphanage. In her mind, you learned to cook by doing it with someone who knew how -– and then did it yourself. I was full of questions. 'How much flour, Grandma?' 'Enough,' was her answer. 'How big do I cut the carrots?' 'It depends on the carrots,' she would say. 'How long does it cook?' 'Until it’s done,' she said. Eventually, my mother put my grandmother’s recipes for pot roast and Welsh Cookies on 3 x 5 cards, now tucked into Mom’s Joy of Cooking, on a shelf in my one of my sister’s kitchens. In a frame on the wall of my kitchen, I have one of my Grandmother’s aprons. It’s there to remind me of what I learned from her: to pay attention, use common sense and stick around. That who you are is more important than where you came from. That the food which feeds body and soul is made the way she cooked -– by heart."

MSNBC "The Cycle" co-host Abby Huntsman's grandparents -- Jon and Karen Huntsman and Floyd and Mary Cooper
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"I am incredibly lucky to still have four amazing grandparents in my life. Something so many of my friends never had at any point in their lives. Because to me, my grandparents have always represented what it means to be a good person. Things that, these days, you only read about from centuries past. Ideals like honor, integrity, character, trust, and most importantly kindness. The idea that you can feel confident based on a person’s handshake, and in what they say. But beyond these virtues, it really is their unconditional love -– for each other and for their family -- both having been married for nearly 60 years -– that will stick with me forever. Marriage is best when underpinned with selflessness, and they have passed that along to my parents and now to me. I still hear from all of them often -– whether to celebrate triumph or console in a setback. They always provide the needed perspective that only a grandparent can share. Somehow they are always right. As they say, wisdom does come with age. Hopefully someday I can pass along their enduring qualities to my own grandchildren."

William Murray, grandfather of Lily, Quinn and Nora
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"It was October 23, 2008. Heart attack. I experienced death, but some fast-handed doctors and God allowed me to live and tell the story. On that eventful day, I had no grandchildren. Now I have three beautiful granddaughters -- Lily (5), Quinn (3) and Nora (1). When people ask me the best part about getting a second chance at life, I tell them it's my chance to get to know my grandchildren. My daughter and her husband are terrific parents, my wife is the greatest grandmother ever, and the three little girls are growing up knowing they are loved by their family and by God. I absolutely treasure that I get to participate in their understanding that the most important parts of life are not manufactured by Apple, or available from Netflix. I am still here on earth today truly as a result of Divine Providence -– but aren't we all? As grandparents, what does age give us that isn't available on my Kindle or from Amazon? Age gives us perspective -– a wider, greater understanding of what matters. That’s what I hope to convey to the girls both in words and in action. I want to model caring, understanding, being grateful to God and living with an 'eternity' mindset. By the way -- I’m also probably going to buy them whatever they want that I can afford. It’s too much fun to skip, because Papa loves his granddaughters to the moon and back times infinity!"

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Grandparents Day 2014
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