Grandparents Day: A West Virginia Tradition and A Forgotten Hol - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Grandparents Day: A West Virginia Tradition and A Forgotten Holiday

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Just like Mother's Day and Father's Day, Grandparents Day was created by a West Virginian, according to officials.

"My mother, when she was a child, her grandmother would take her to visit what they called shut-ins in West Virginia. When she grew up and finished raising her 15 kids she tried to get a national shut in day and she succeeded with President Nixon," said D.J. McQuade-Lancaster, with the National Grandparents Day Council.

According to McQuade-Lancaster, Marian McQuade officially asked for Grandparents Day in 1973 and it officially became a national holiday in 1978 while President Jimmy Carter was in office. But some grandparents believe that it is a forgotten holiday.

"I think some people don't know it is Grandparents Day," said Betty Swisher, a grandparent.

The Clarksburg City Florist sold just one item this year for Grandparents Day.

Betty Swisher said Grandparents Day used to be a big deal in churches and schools when she was growing up, but the tradition of celebrating has died over the years.

"I think it is ignored a lot. It's not advertised. You go in a store, you got Mother's Day gifts and all, but there's no, no advertisement for Grandparents Day," Swisher said.

Swisher said her family is one of the few that does celebrate, however.  She and her family spent the day at Stonewall Jackson Lake on Saturday and had plans to cookout on Sunday afternoon.  It was an extra special Grandparents Day for Swisher though, because it was also her 84th birthday. Swisher said she was most excited about seeing her two great-grandchildren, who she has only ever met once before.  

McQuad-Lancaster said distance is partly to blame for the lack of celebrating nationwide.

"A lot of grandparents live in different states," McQuade-Lancaster said.

"I have two in Maine," said Bea Walters, a grandparent.

That is why the National Grandparents Day Council is looking to bring the latest technologies into nursing homes and senior centers across the country.

"To get computers for senior centers. Senior centers and even nursing homes so that they can Skype," McQuade-Lancaster said.

Grandparents Day is all about spending time, and saying thank you for all that grandparents do over the year.

"Why is it important? Because we love them and we help raise them," said Martha Ballarb, a grandparent.

Most grandchildren would agree, grandma and grandpa spoil their grandchildren in ways parents never would.

"Humor them, give them what they want, then send them home. Spoil them. It's 'well, grandmother let's me do that," Swisher said.

But Grandparents Day isn't just for grandma and grandpa. It's for the grandchildren, too, McQuade-Lancaster said.

"My mother always said when a grandparent dies, it's like a library burned down. They have all this knowledge and history. All this love," McQuade-Lancaster said.

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