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A Thank You to My Biggest Fan, My Grandpa

To Grandpa Gorski, 


Thank you for being my greatest teacher and number one fan since day one. I think since the beginning of time you have been my favorite, but let’s keep that between us. Truly though I do not know where I would be without all of your lessons, sayings, and stories today. I can say without a doubt that I am who I am today because of you. 

Going back to the start in the condo, my parents tell me that you were the one who always gave me the best snacks – which I know is related to my sweet tooth today. I have videos of you chasing me down the hallways that definitely transferred to Kohler. The barn game was invented as the crazy farmer would look for his animals, something I will never forget and hope to share with my kids someday. I gained pure joy from such a simple thing, I am occasionally reminded of this so when things get overwhelming I find joy in the little things. As I got older we began “guess the song” over the phone where I somehow convinced you to listen to my CD player for hours as I danced in the background. Still, today I dance it out in times of stress and excitement. Lastly, our games come down to the leap of death, a forbidden game nowadays. When it did exist it showed me to be adventurous and challenge myself, just not to the point of an ankle injury.

father and daughter, family, father, love, people, children, happiness
Photo by Caleb Jones from Unsplash

Besides the activity-based games were the card games I still am in love with today. Something that is so calming but exhilarating at the same time. The thought that has to go into playing makes everything else in the world disappear momentarily. The strategy behind the game has made me a better problem solver, and of course a wise gambler too. You taught me how to have a poker face, read other’s expressions, and call bluff when you can see someone clearly lying. Each game that I have learned from you demands a different task and different skill set. The game 99 taught me what goes around comes around, 500 rummy showed me the gamble of sandbagging, whether to be an open or closed book, poker taught me how things can go bad or good but all of it is for a reason, 21 showed me the importance of working hard to overcome the dealer, someone who has more power than you, and finally, 52 card pick up showed me that chaos erupts but with work it can be controlled to eventually become what the deck once was. All of these lessons guide me in my life and have led to the decisions I have made to place me where I am today.

Picture by TheVirtualDenise from Pixabay

I find myself saying your signature sayings in my daily life which usually only results in some strange looks for others, but I know their origin and meaning. I know all they have taught me and all the wisdom that comes with them. Remembering when I was told them and how to apply them in the future even when you haven’t been able to say them yourself always guides me.

  1. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is history, and today is a gift

  2. When you come to a fork in the road – take it

  3. The first 100 years are the hardest, then you just get to lay around

couple hugging
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash


Grandpa, most importantly, you taught me to be a dreamer. You encouraged me to be ambitious, to take the challenging route, and to never give up. Whenever I thought something stood in my way, you were always right beside me telling me I could conquer anything I set my mind and heart to. After hearing all of your stories of doing the unreachable, I understood that if there is a will, there is truly a way. That literally nothing could stand in the way of my passions, and that my passions were worth following and attaining. The path I am on today is because of all of this. I owe you so much credit to who I am today, to how I approach life, to how I interact with others, and to how my character has developed. So, with all this said Grandpa, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for showing me a Grandpa’s love like no other and always pushing me to be the best version of myself I can be. I will forever and always be grateful for that and for having you by my side every step of the way. 


Your granddaughter, Kate

Kate O’Leary

Wisconsin '23

Kate is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Madison majoring in Biology and Sociology. She is the proud co-president of Her Campus Wisconsin. Kate enjoys running, spending time with friends, cheering on the Badgers and making the absolute best crepes ever!
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