Sunday, June 11, 2006

Leonard Ziegler Jensen - 11 June 1914 - 8 May 1987

My mom sent out this rememberance of my grandpa on his birthday:

Today Grandpa would have been 92 years old. I've been thinking of him and how much I loved him. He was a super dad, always available with time and attention galore. His family was his priority. His children and grandchildren gave him such joy.

Grandpa was born on June 11, 1914 in Omaha, Nebraska. He had a brother, Charles, who died very young from a bone disease. I think he was around two years old when he died. He went to elementary school and high school in Omaha, but wasn't interested in being much of a student. He left high school and went to work as a chauffeur. He may have had other jobs before this, but this is the one I remember hearing about. We have a photo of him in his uniform looking very young and handsome and happy in front of the automobile.

Grandpa met Grandma when he was visiting his father in the hospital. She was his nurse and Grandpa asked if the nurses would like a ride home. The romance began. They were married in St. Paul, Nebraska at Grandma Ewers' tiny farm house on September 10, 1939. Grandpa Ewers had suffered a stroke several years before and was unable to travel so they had the wedding at home. Money was very tight, so they probably would have had it at home anyway.

Grandma and Grandpa went to California on their honeymoon and went back to Nebraska only to get the rest of their belongings. They were ready to start their life together in Los Angeles. Grandma worked as a nurse at St. Vincent's Hospital located at Sunset and Beaudry. They rented an apartment nearby and Grandpa worked at various jobs until he begin working for North American Aviation as a staff photographer. They saved their pennies and bought a house in Lennox, California when I was just a few months old.

Grandpa rode a bike to work and we ran out to greet him when he came home hoping to find a treat in his big black lunch box. There are so many happy memories to share, I'm sure you all have some, too.

====MK's Memories of Grandpa=====
I adored Grandpa.
When I think of him, I see myself nestling with him in his brown leather chair. He smelled of coffee, shaving cream and warmth. White hair, tanned skin, and pale blue eyes.

Even when he was exasperated by a ridiculous movie on tv or calling a bad driver a nincompoop, he was always laid back and approachable. I think of him driving around in his little Toyota, chatting up his CB radio buddies in the car; he liked people. My brother and I loved to tease him.

He taught me how to draw upside down. He gave me my first camera and inspired my photography obsession. I would spend hours immersed in his photography collection each time I visited.
I felt as if he expected nothing from me (which is next to impossible in human relationships, especially in families), it was easy to be myself around him. He gave me an amazing gift of pure unconditional, unqualified love.

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