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27 January 2011 @ 06:39 pm
My Grandpa.  
So a week ago today, Thursday the 20th, was my Grandpa's 91st birthday. I should have made this post then, but I was so emotionally exhausted by the time we got home from his birthday party.

I just thought I would share a little about my grandpa today. He was best friends with my grandmother's brother and quite a bit older than her. He joined the Navy in WWII and one day when he was home visiting, he came by my grandma's house. She told him her brother wasn't home and the smooth talker that my grandpa is, he replied, "I didn't come here to see him, I came here to see you," and then asked her what she was doing that evening. My grandma was all flustered (she was still a high school girl, after all) but they went out.

He continued to come see her and take her out whenever he had a few days. From where he was stationed, he would hitch-hike with a trucker, take her out to dinner, drop her at her father's house with a kiss goodnight, and have to immediately turn around and hitch-hike back in order to make it back to base on time.

This went on until he asked her to marry him. Their wedding was him hitching to town, taking her to dinner and then to the Justice's house, where the Justice's wife was their witness. After they said "I do" the Justice's wife broke out champagne and they all had a toast. Then Grandpa took Grandma back to her father's house and hitchhiked back to his base again.

Once they were out at sea, Grandpa would send her secret coded messages. He was in the same unit as her bffs boyfriend and they were constantly telling them things like, "Go stay with your mom's friend for a week," or whatever, and they would be like, "Oh well that person lives in suchandsuch town, so that must be where they will be coming in to port." (They weren't allowed to give away where the ship would be in case the letters got intercepted, so this was the guys secret code to their girls.)

When my uncle was born, Grandpa didn't even know if he had a son or a daughter for almost three months. He didn't get to see my uncle until he was something like 6 months old. Grandma and her friend would hitch across the country, live out of motels, hang out at the docks. Just to see their guys.

My Grandpa tells this story about Pearl Harbor. Their ship came in to the port about two days after the attack. Red Cross had run out of supplies. The men were wearing torn and dirty clothes and had no food or water. My grandpa was in charge of his ship's general store and when they came in, the survivors of Pearl Harbor bought out the whole store. Everything, completely emptied it out down to the last nut and bolt. Afterwards, my grandpa took all the money the ship's store made that day and walked down to the Red Cross station and handed the money over to them.

After the war, they bought the only corner store in the whole "village" (it's about four streets that intersect in the middle of the country - my grandpa is listed on the official record books as one of the founders of the township now). They ran the store together, my uncle sitting up on the counter, greeting people when they came in to buy their milk. My grandpa also worked as an insurance salesman, but he couldn't handle the stress of it - trying not to let people make their claims was not how he wanted to help people, I guess.

So then he bought the family farm. This is where he raised all three of his boys. My dad can tell you a million stories about the different cows (his favorite was Bessie) and horses (Queenie was the one that threw my dad right off the first time he claimed he could ride her) and all the barn cats (the one that would sneak into your car and try to ride home with you).

My Grandpa worked that farm my whole life. When I was a kid they finally got rid of the pigs and cows and turned it completely into a beans/corn farm. He was out there, on his tractor, plowing the fields. My cousins lived down the road from him, growing up - and they would get the call it was time to come out and pick the rocks, Grandpa was getting out the plow.

In high school, I worked not far from The Farm and whenever my little brother and I wanted to be pampered, we would go there for dinner. Sometimes my brother would come with me to work so that we could go to The Farm afterwards just to eat dinner with them. My Grandpa is a excellent cook and he has this cookbook, old and falling apart with all his recipes in them. My little brother was the cook in our family, when he was about 14, after my parents divorced. He was a good cook and he would go out to see Grandpa and they would go over recipes together and my brother would copy down a new one to take home and try out on us.

My grandpa was diagnosed with Parkinson when I was a kid and he never let it slow him down. He had a stroke about two years ago and yet, still last summer, at the age of 90, he was out painting the barn - because it had to get done and that's just how my grandpa rolls.

My grandpa is absolutely the one person I know that I can say is my hero. More than any famous person, actor, inventor, politician - my grandpa is my #1 hero.

Sadly, he had a second stroke a few weeks back and his health has taken a serious decline and he had to go into a rehab center. I don't really want to go into all the details right now, because this is a post about how awesome my grandpa is - but the stress of this is why I haven't been posting much lately. Though I have lots of things to say to all of you. (I have the best story about The Nephew to share).

Anyway, my grandpa is awesome and I love him and I just wanted to share that with you.
Jojo: Raspberriesjojothecr on January 27th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
I am officially jealous now. Your grandpa really sounds awesome. I don't have a grandpa. The one died before I was born and the other soon after. I have a few photos with him when I was like five months and that's all. They were both pretty 'young'.

Afterwards, my grandpa took all the money the ship's store made that day and walked down to the Red Cross station and handed the money over to them.

I really hope he'll get better (if it's possible). Still, 91 is such an amazing age.
*hugs to you and your grandpa*
dodger_sister: hugdodger_sister on February 1st, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
I am sorry you didn't get to know your grandfathers. My mom's dad died when I was 12, but I was old enough that I remember a few things about him. I remember he always told me to "keep your nose clean" which of course meant to stay out of trouble. But when I was little, I always just thought Grandpa B was obsessed with boogers. lol

I love that story about my Grandpa at Pearl Harbor so much that I wrote it into a children's book that I wrote. I really need to get on doing something with those children's books that are just sitting on my harddrive.

91 years is a long time and until recently, he has been in remarkable health, all of which I am extremely grateful for. Mostly it is upsetting because the decline was so sudden and Grandpa is aware of everything that is going and is very depressed by it all. He has seemed better the last few times I saw him though, so hopefully he can get to a place where he and Grandma can live in an assisted facility together and at least be together again.

Thanks for the support and taking the time to read my long-winded speech about my Granpda. /hugs/
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on January 28th, 2011 03:53 am (UTC)
He sounds completely fabulous, and you are so lucky to know him and to have had him as such a cool part of your life for so long!

(I'm jealous too. My one grandpa was senile by the time I was six and dead by the time I was ten, and the other was a horribly racist and sexist man who died when I was in my twenties.)
dodger_sister: familydodger_sister on February 1st, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! My grandpa is an amazing man and has really made a huge difference in my life, as you can tell.

I'm sorry you didn't get to know your grandfather and that one of them was a racist and sexist. My sister-in-law's father is quite like that and The Nephew is currently living with him, so that's not a good situation. He's four, he's absorbs things at this age.

Thanks for reading my rambling about my grandpa - it went on for 1,000 words, I didn't think anyone would, lol.
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on February 1st, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
But I love your rambles!
ranua: traveled for peaceranua on January 28th, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much for sharing your stories about your grandpa. He sounds like an amazing man. The story of his courting your grandma is so sweet. And the Pearl Harbor story, that is the mark of a truly great person. I can see why he is your hero.

Also, you made me all sniffy and teary, missing my grandparents. They were awesome like that too. My Granny passed four years ago and my Grumpy had the headstone placed at the foot of the grave because he couldn't bear the thought of anyone standing on her to read it. When he went the next year, his stone went right next to her's. I like the thought that no one will stand on them.
dodger_sister: hugdodger_sister on February 1st, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
I love how my grandpa was such a smooth talker that he flustered my grandma like that. He went to a lot of trouble to court her, it's why they've been married for 70 years. :)

Oh, I'm sorry to have made you sad, sweetie. I'm glad you had awesome grandparents too. I love that you called him "Grumpy"!

I like the thought that no one will stand on them.

I never thought of that, but now it makes total sense and is awesome.

Thanks for reading about my grandpa. I just needed to theraputic some of this out for emotional reasons, it was nice that people read it too!
flawed_x_designflawed_x_design on February 13th, 2011 07:05 am (UTC)
I know this is massively delayed, but your Grandpa sounds like a wonderful person with really fascinating stories to tell. I hope he gets at least a little better.

This post made me think of my own grandparents, and my 2 grandpas, one of which passed away a few years ago, and the other who I got to visit last year (all my grandparents live overseas) so it made me sad but also happy because, like your grandpa they both have such interesting histories and have done wonderful things I should always remember :)
Thanks for sharing *hugs*
dodger_sister: familydodger_sister on February 14th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

My grandpa has gotten a little better actually. He had gotten the flu and a broken leg on top of trying to recover from the stroke and he was just not doing well - but they readjusted some meds and he seems better. I don't think he'll get to go home though, but an elderly care apartment, which would allow him to live there with Grandma, is definitely an option.

I feel like in comparision to our grandparents generation, our generation has the boring-est stories to tell our grandchildren someday, don't you? I had planned on writing down some more of my grandpa's stories - thought his time in the navy and then owning the farm would have made a good book - but since I haven't had a car in years, I sadly just couldn't drive out there whenever I wanted and do interviews and things.