Jack and Marion Hlava were married on June 18th 1949 in the central Wisconsin town of Mosinee. They had five children, and among them was my father. After leaving Mosinee, Grandma and Grandpa Hlava spent the rest of their lives in the small paper town of Green Bay, and their house sat on Ridge Road just a few short blocks away from the famed Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.
When I was very young I remember the car rides to their house marked by the left turn just in front of the colossal football shrine. Often I was forced against my will to wear an itchy sweater in my best effort to be as photogenic as possible for the family photo. But I toughed through it, because going to grandma and grandpa’s house meant great food, hanging out with the family, but most importantly there was usually a Packer game involved.
Speaking of the Green Bay Packers, for anyone from the great state of Wisconsin (Green Bay in particular) watching the games were as commonplace as breathing. Being a fan is simply a part of everyday life there, and there were no bigger Packer fans that I knew of than my grandparents. If anything I remember of them, it was the look of sheer jubilation at every great win, and the heart retching agony of every loss. But we shared in it together as a family and it was a special bond that I’ll never forget. In 1996 the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl for the first time in my life, and I was there at Grandma and Grandpa’s house cheering them on with my family.
This year when I celebrate Grandparents Day, I’ll be thinking about those car rides past Lambeau Field to my grandparents’ house. I’ll remember those awful striped sweaters I used to wear during the holidays at their house, and the hearty meals we ate when the temperatures dipped below zero. I’ll remember the jubilation of every Packer victory and the agony of every loss when we all watched the games together. I’m proud to say that the time spent with my grandparents made me who I am today; I cherish the time with my family, am a lifelong Packer fan which I will be passed down to the next generation, and I still hate itchy sweaters.
Written By: Adam Hlava