A Lifetime of Childlike Wonder Seen in an Old Family Photograph

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My grandfather, Charles Edward (Ed) Niesen, never lost his child-like wonder.

I don’t know the story behind this photo, but I do recognize the expression on his face. It’s practically the same expression he is wearing in a photo that sits on my dresser – one of him and my grandmother taken during Christmas 2003.

I’m not surprised this picture captures Granddad on a bike as he was usually in motion. Ed spent his childhood playing ball with kids from the neighborhood, doing gymnastics at the YMCA, and cheering on the St. Louis Browns.

In adulthood he played on the church softball team and, with Grandma, raised two boys who would also become avid St. Louis baseball fans.

Granddad was a gentle spirit – a man with a boyish grin who loved his family fiercely. He never missed my own sports games (or concerts, or plays, or celebrations for that matter). I learned about loyalty and kindness and generosity from him and my grandmother, and from the man they raised.

Even at the end of his life, when dementia stole his memory and he couldn’t always recall our names, Granddad would wiggle his ears and race me down the hall of the assisted living center with that boyish grin on his face. ~shared by @sniesenthompson

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