At just 17 years old, Rachel Gold, of Northville, knows just how valuable the wisdom of the ages can be. If given the opportunity, she’d sit for hours and listen to her grandmother, Elvira Micalles, recount tales from her life.
“I like listening to stories, like when my grandma was coming here from Mexico,” said Gold. “She’d tell me, ‘Make sure you experience this’; ‘You have to see this.’ She’ll tell me how she’s made a mistake or something, and tell me, ‘Don’t do this.’ It’s like she’s trying to correct her mistakes through my life.”
With Grandparents Day just around the corner Sept. 8, many around metro Detroit are looking back fondly at time spent with their beloved grandma or grandpa, and recalling the good advice bestowed upon them that can only come from years of experience.
Gold spoke of her grandma, now 86 years old, with an affection that can’t really be described. Part parental figure, part best friend and part source of daily entertainment, Gold admitted that she talks to her grandma every day and appreciates every moment. In fact, she’s recently started recording some of her grandma’s stories, so she can hang on to them forever.
“She’s got an eccentric personality. She gets me, because I’m kind of eccentric, as well,” said Gold. “She’s the kind of person who just does not sleep. She doesn’t sit still. She says, ‘Make something of yourself while you’re here. It’s not going to happen if you sit and watch it go by.’”
That advice has stayed with Gold through the years, and now that she’s entering her senior year of high school, she sees those words of wisdom playing an even larger role as she plans for the future.
“I do hospice volunteer work. I like to get out there and make friends and talk to people. I’m always going to put myself out there because she taught me never to be shy,” she said. “In school, I’ve had a couple of opportunities to share stories or do presentations that were volunteer-only. And I just do it.”
The same goes for Ally Goltz, of Rochester. After graduating from the University of Michigan this past spring, Goltz took off to see the world — or at least the country, for now — after being inspired by her grandma Joan Nocita.
Goltz spent the summer in Los Angeles, and she’s been interviewing for broadcast media jobs in Chicago and New York.
“My grandma always said, ‘You can do anything you set your mind to; don’t be afraid to get out there and explore. The world is a big place full of opportunity,’” she said. “After graduating in May, I’ve made it a priority to travel and not be afraid to seek out opportunities in big cities. I’m just not afraid to go places.”
Joe Larrew, of Madison Heights, said that everything his grandfather, Bill Brandt, has told him over the years has resonated with him — even the way he said it.
“He was born and raised in Nebraska, so he talks real slow and clear. You can hear every word he says,” said Larrew. “(My grandparents) are just your typical Midwest breadbasket-type people. I’ve always been close to them.”
Of all the advice he’s received from his grandpa, a retiree of General Motors now living in Tawas, there’s one token that seems to stand out from the rest for Larrew.
“My grandpa always told me, ‘If the grass ever starts looking greener on the other side, then it’s time to water your lawn,’” said Larrew. “That keeps me grounded when I feel like I’m in over my head. Funny enough, it helped me through my divorce just as much as during my marriage. It’s a sound little piece of advice.”