My Influencers

Blog #15 1/2 – My Influencers

Blog #15 1/2 flashback:

“My  Influencers”

So, in Blog #15,  I talked about the quote “ if it’s to be it’s up to me”. In this post,  I want to talk about the people who influenced me the most. It’s hard to capture the essence of all these wonderful people in a paragraph so hopefully I do them all justice.

Grandma Doris

My grandmother Doris taught me to enjoy life. My grandmother usually played second fiddle to my grandfather who was a master story teller. She would sit in her recliner and give me a  nod for truth or a shake of the head for “not so true”. Usually once a month she would call me up and ask me to go on a “date”. I was only 8 at the time this started but it went through my teenage years. We would go to lunch at a nice place like the Velvet Turtle and a movie. My grandfather didn’t like to go to the movies so this was her way to do something she enjoyed. We would talk about life stuff and all her adventures since they travelled extensively.

Grandpa Bill “Doc” Osterholtz

I spent a lot of my time with my grandpa Bill “Doc” Osterholtz working on cars. Like I mentioned above he loved to tell stories about his years as a veterinarian for the federal and state government. When I was younger our interactions were mostly just listening to grandpa telling his stories in the house. When I got my first car he helped me work on my car with tune ups and finally when I got the 73 Gran Torino it was rebuilding a hot rod. We would first go to the auto supply store where he would flirt with the young cashier which was awkward and embarrassing. We would get our supplies then go to his garage. He would always light up a cigar and explain the whole process. I learned to work on cars in large part because of him and he had a great sense of humor. His favorite stories were when he was dating my grandmother. He would take her with him when he had to inspect cattle. Apparently my grandmother was a free spirit and a little headstrong. He told me on several occasions about how he was inspecting a bull and told her to stand off to the side or the bull might go after her. As you could imagine she was running for her life moments later and luckily was fast on her feet. We would always have a good time in that garage sharing laughs and stories.

Grandpa Bill Normart

Grandpa Bill Normart was all about the details. My Dads dad was a machinist by trade which I always found fascinating because his hands were so big. Picture an old timers catchers mitt with the big fingers and that was his hand. Yet he could do the most intricate detail. He would always explain everything he did, he was an amazing teacher. Part of that also was he had a very gruff voice sometimes. Seriously he would scare the hell out of you when he raised his voice but he was also a gentle teddy bear. He taught me to clean a fish, bait a hook, split wood, use a jig saw to cut wooden fish and bears for his cabin. He also played a mean game of horseshoes. I spent a lot of time with him every summer at their cabin at Huntington lake. I think fondly of those summers even now. 

Grandma Si

Grandma Si made all her grand kids feel like they were the favorite, she was amazing. She was seriously the most incredible person I’ve ever met. She made the best Armenian food, from grape leaves to pilaf which I still try to replicate now. She was always in a good mood except when grandpa would beat her at cribbage. She was gentle, kind and very attentive to listening to you no matter what age you were. When we went to the cabin my brothers and I would want to go fishing, my grandpa in a very gruff voice would say “ you can’t catch fish in this lake right now”. My grandma in the most calm and compassionate voice would say “oh Bill, take the boys fishing”, and he usually would.  She taught me the box step one afternoon ( which to this day is the only thing I’m confident of lol) and many years later I danced with her at a wedding and she asked me how I learned this step and I proudly told her “ you did grandma”. It made her proud. My grandmother called me every Sunday at 10 am and would always start out with a “Michael…” in the most cheerful voice you could ever hear. She did this until she passed away at the amazing age of 95. I miss those talks.

Uncle Joe

My Uncle Joe was always someone I looked up to, mainly because he was huge, especially when I was a little guy. He was just a big muscular guy who loved the outdoors. Definitely a gentle giant and man could he bbq! He would make the best tri-tip ever. He never raised his voice except if there was a story going on he was passionate about. He made his career at PG&E and did well for himself. He had the mindset, work hard and it will pay off. It worked for him as he could do all the things he loved. I always admired him for that and think part of my work ethic I have now I learned from him too as well as my dad. Two great role models. 

Aunt Linda

My Aunt Linda is the nicest person I’ve ever met. She is always calm and has the personality that always makes you feel loved and welcomed. She was very close to my dad so we saw each other frequently growing up. She’s the type of person you immediately feel comfortable talking to, which is why she can talk to anyone with ease. I learned a lot from her on how you should treat people with kindness. She is always thoughtful of others especially around the holidays. She is an amazing cook as well, keeping with the traditional Armenian cuisine my grandmother would make. I love spending time with her and just wish we lived closer.

Uncle Gary & Aunt Brenda

My Uncle was a lifelong Air Force man. He lived in Texas so I didn’t get to see him as much as I would have liked. He had many stories like my grandfather and his, were mostly around his travels in the Airforce and fast cars. He was a great guy and I looked up to him with awe, being a dedicated servant to our country. His wife was really easy to talk to and like my grandmother, let my uncle do most of the talking. I’m sure it was different at home. They had a daughter, Shauna who also lives in Texas today. Sadly my uncle passed away at an early age from MS and his wife from diabetes. 

So here’s Tip #15 1/2: Part of growing as a person is learning from the people you are close too. It can be good or bad sometimes and fortunately for me, mine were good. I learned different things from all these great people and it has helped mold me into the person I am today.

…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

Subscribe to my Blog below

2 thoughts on “Blog #15 1/2 – My Influencers

  1. Hi Mike,
    I enjoy your life stories… I too was greatly influenced by my Grandparents… Brings back many great memories..
    Keep it up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *