They were like grandparents to me. He taught me how to save money, or at least tried to. He said to save $500 he gave me one Christmas at 9 years old for a rainy day. I wanted a new video game one rainy Saturday and demanded that my dad drive me to the toy store to buy it because I had saved the money for a rainy day.
He gave me life lessons. He taught me how to shake hands like a man, even though I was 8 at the time. He was the only one who would give my dad a hard time, which I loved seeing. People have complimented me on my handshake to this day. He loved his wife, although he told me that he only married her just because his mother was so demanding about it. They married each other without really knowing each other too well, so he said. It worked out. They stayed married 67 years, 11 months, and 20 days.
He had the foresight to live on his salary, but save his wife’s salary. This worked to make them financially well off later in life. While I don’t think they enjoyed it as much as I would have, I guess they were happy with how they saved.
She was a submissive wife. I remember growing up and hating to visit their home because she kept it so neat and orderly. She had so many ceramic knick-knacks around that I was afraid I’d break something. In fact, I wasn’t allowed in the living room and normally had to walk straight into Uncle Jim’s den. I remember spending many happy hours there, regardless.
I remember how my mother (who is naturally assertive) started hanging out more with her and she slowly started telling her husband “no” at times. He would complain about my mother’s influence on his wife, but he wasn’t really all that irritated. It was funny to see her change, yet still be a good wife to him.
I remember when she beat me playing Street Fighter II Turbo for Super Nintendo (three times!). She had no idea what she was doing, but no amount of Hadokens, Spinning leg kicks, electrical shocks, or psychic body cannons I threw at her, she still won. She was 73 at the time.
They provided my books for college. They always gave me enough money for those. I remember when she admitted to me that she started forgetting things. She gave me money for college at that time and basically told me that she could write a check for books as much as he could and it was legitimate. (I later verified that it was okay before I cashed it.) She was mad when he took the keys from her and didn’t let her drive anymore.
Soon, she forgot who I was even though she had always asked about me and always wanted to know if I “got a ring on that finger yet?” Oddly enough, even though she forgot everything due to Alzheimer’s Disease (even how to write), she still remembered God. She could sing a hymn, ALWAYS prayed (making the other residents in the small home care house say grace before eating), and was clear on who God is. I guess it’s like my parent’s pastor said, “When you’re old and your mind goes, what’s in you comes out of you.”
Two of the sweetest and best people ever created by God were at last joined together in Heaven, no longer as husband & wife, but joint-heirs in Christ on 11/4/2011.
I will always love, cherish, and fondly remember my godfather, Walter J. Ennals and his selfless wife, Thelma Sampson Ennals. I only hope that I can a) live as long and well as they did (91 and 92 years, respectively) and b) do as much with my life for others as they did. I love and miss you always, Uncle Jim and Aunt Thelma!
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