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Wednesday, June 9. 2010
Back in April I did a little bit of reminiscing about one of my Grandpas. At that time, I promised an open session for Grandpa reminiscing.
It is understood that Grandpas are or were not perfect, but each one is a story. A better story than those of parents, because the grandparent stories reach further into the past.
Sometimes I feel like I am an unsettled, unhomogenized mix of both of my Grandpas.
For example, my other Grandpa was the opposite of the warm, fun-loving one I posted about. This guy was a stern, dignified, laconic, unsociable, never smiling, morally-rigid GP and cardiologist who made house calls into his 80s. He totalled his car making a house call on one Christmas night in a blizzard. Cops took him to his house call with his big black leather bag, then back home, where he arrived bloodied but unbowed.
He worked 7 days/wk. Had zero tolerance for foolishness of any sort, and the only times I ever saw a smile was when he was holding a baby. He was not about "fun," and was a serious man who took life seriously. He had a dry Milton or Shakespeare quote for any occasion, and he liked a Scotch or two in the evening, neat. Smoked corn-cob pipes at work and at home. (It is only recently that one could not smoke in hospitals.) Osler was his hero, and he had nothing but contempt for FDR and Lyndon Johnson.
When he opened his medical practice, the scourges in CT were malaria, syphilis, puerperal fever, and TB and other infectious diseases - plus all the diseases we still have. Few people were "healthy," as we view it, in the 1920s and 30s: just imagine everybody today with a new hip or knee hobbling around painfully on canes, or stuck in chairs, or everybody today with a bypass or stent or heart meds, bedridden and slowly dying of heart failure. Not to mention untreatable Depression.
He grew up on a farm in northern CT in a hamlet named after his (and my) family name. Worked his way through college and medical school (in Baltimore), mostly as a cook during the summers at lumber camps in Maine and NH. (I never saw him even boil an egg - he always had a cook in the house. My Dad tells me that he did know how to cook pancakes.)
His first wife died of leukemia before she could have kids. He had been her doctor. He did not remarry until his 40s. Both of my grandpas lost young wives to illness. It wasn't rare at all, two generations ago.
Like most docs of the past, he was not much of a vacation-taker until his later 60s, but was known to enjoy fly fishing at his favorite getaway spot, Mohonk. He also liked the old resort hotels in Watch Hill, where he met his second wife. She was a summer hotel waitress there, but her main job was as a Brooklyn grammar school teacher, teaching new Jewish and Italian immigrant kids. Her parents were a farm family in Norwalk, CT., and I have no idea why or how she ended up in Brooklyn. She once told me she had to check the kids for lice daily.
Her Mom lived with them until she died aged 107. She had been a nurse while being a farm wife too. She did jigsaw puzzles, and looked like an Indian (she had plenty of Indian blood, I am told, but was not happy about that, I suspect).
Grandpa's garage shelves were piled with hearts and brains and kidneys in jars with formaldehyde or alcohol or whatever. Cool for a kid. As I recall, my Dad burned them - along with all of his old wooden file cabinets of medical records, when the old guy died at 86 or 87.
This is him at my aunt's wedding. My Dad's sister was a beauty and a Physical Therapist for the Army until she had kids, but she is now gone too:
His patients loved him but eventually he outlived most of them. Many paid him with farm produce, and the poor paid him with labor at his house - chopping wood, painting, cleaning up the grounds, etc. I remember stopping by and seeing a bushel basket of fresh-dug potatoes left on the back porch, and a basket of sweet corn another time. He had a good-sized vegetable garden down in the back, which he tended himself. Lots of wax beans, as I recall. I do like them too.
He had the first EKG machine in CT. We still have that German machine in its splendid mahogany case. It still works. I need to take a photo of it when I remember. I think my Dad intends to donate it to the Yale Medical School museum.
I'll welcome more Grandpa thumbnail sketches in the comments.
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Great story. Thanks for posting.
Alas, I was fairly young when both my grandfathers died: 5 when we lost my mom's dad and 14 when we lost my dad's (my 15th birthday was also the day of his funeral). And I didn't live close to either of them. So my memories are just bits and pieces.
My mom's dad could play the fiddle, grew strawberries, raised chickens, and lived very far out in the northeast Mississippi countryside in a house with an outhouse and a pump for water in the kitchen. He was big and burly with a full head of white hair (something I didn't inherit), and all his kids—all 8 of them—looked exactly like him.
My dad's dad was born in El Dorado, Arkansas. He'd been a schoolteacher at one time, but when I knew him, he was a butcher who would take me to his shop. He was quiet and easygoing and liked animals. He played the organ with more enthusiasm than talent. He never missed an opportunity to hop in his car and take a drive through the country. He was thin and bald and a little stooped over, and the family tells me I look more like him than anyone since.
I wish my memories were as strong as yours, but we take what we can get, and I wouldn't trade mine with anyone.
I was fortunate to grow up within a half hour's drive or less - of both of my grandparents
My Maternal Grandfather John A, was the son of German immigrants who settled in and around Milwaukee, WI. Born in 1876, he pass on in 1966. I never learned much about his "youth" other than he served in the US Army Calvary (23rd Calvary Division) and worked on the family farm. Somewhere around the turn of the century, he started working for a small castings foundry in Milwaukee which eventually grew into one of GM's major supplier of engine castings. He was educated to the 8th grade level, but eventually, through osmosis I suppose, gained enough education to eventually become General Foreman of the plant out of Waukesha, WI. Always interested in politics, he was a ward heeler in Milwaukee and did his "business" at a small bar located up the street from his home.
Always a curious guy, he would pass on his hobbys to the Grandkids who were interested - including me. He taught me a lot about wood working and electricity - he built one of the very first spark gap transmitters used in what is now known as the Amateur Radio Service. He built his own runabout, eventually a 25' sailbot and knew both Ole Evinrude (inventor of the outboard engine) and Arthur Davidson (Harley-Davidson). A great fisherman, he taught my cousin Mark and me how to fish. From what I remember, he had a great personality always laughing, telling jokes and living life as best he could. He had three sons, two daughters.
I don't remember much about my Paternal Grandfather Edwin R. as he died young. His family was one of the original families who formed what is now Marblehead, MA. About the same age as my Maternal Grandfather, I do know he served in the Navy, was a Salem, MA fire fighter who did roofing on the side eventually working for the City of Salem as their Bridge Inspector/Supervisor. He died in 1958 from complications of pneumonia shortly before we moved east.
Bird Dog; Thank you for letting us do this -- it is very generous of you.
My maternal grandfather, Loyola, was born in 1896 in Detroit, a descendant of German immigrants. My older cousins know more early personal history than I do, but I know his parents were farmers, he served in World War II, an after returning started up a very successful Lincoln dealership in Detroit with his brothers. I remember those Lincolns; they were huge.
He had seven children, six of whom survived to adulthood. He had 36 grandchildren, all of whom worshipped the ground he walked on. He had a cottage at Rose Island, Sebewaing, Michigan (on Saginaw Bay) where he, his children and his grandchildren vacationed throughout their their lives.
He was a highly-respected, engaging, loving man who could make you feel like you were the most special person on earth. He died in 1978 from a heart attack, in his boat house in Sebewaing, while he and I (at the age of 13) were packing up the boat getting ready to go fishing.
I still miss him.
Interestingly, I believe that he and my grandmother visited all 50 states in the U.S.
My grandpa was second generation Irish and illegitimate at that. He went by the nickname "Red." Used to say that we celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the US because this country found a way to turn the Irish into more-or-less willing taxpayers.
He had two occupations. He often had a job at the county court house, holding elected jobs like tax assessor. When out of office, he sold Buicks to the local farmers in rural Indiana. I'd hang around the dealer with him then he'd take me for a haircut at the barbershop.
Used to chew Red Man tobacco and spit everywhere. Introduced me to the pleasures of oatmeal cookies, still my favorites. Took me to see the Indianapolis 500 one year where we slept in the car the night before then spread our blanket on the inside of turn 4.
He was always a happy man, reminded me of Harry Truman.
My grandparents were a farm family in Norwalk, CT as well. It's where I grew up.
My mother's father was one of those Jewish immigrant kids - in lower Manhattan, not Brooklyn, and probably a bit older than your grandmother's students.
Like many escaping pogroms, his father left Poland intending to send money back from "the Golden Land" - but WWI intervened. My great-grandma and my grandfather walked through the battle lines to a cousin who arranged their passage. Know how Jewish mothers say "eat, eat" - during that trek he recalls her saying "don't eat all that now, save some."
He bore the brunt of the culture shock, shedding most Jewish practice while remaining proud of his people and a life-long Zionist. He was a great basketball player back when there were a lot of Jews in that sport, and I remember him swimming and playing vigorous games of handball well into his Florida retirement.
He worked as a lather and plasterer in the crews that created some of the fine Art Deco interiors of New York city.
Married and too old to enlist, he worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yards during WWII.
Despite your grandma's memory, moving from the tenements of Manhattan to the newer housing stock of Brooklyn was a sign of progress. The public high schools of WWII-era Brooklyn yielded most of the flood of Jewish achievement in American arts and sciences over the past 50 years - from Jonas Salk to Simon and Garfunkel.
Reluctantly my grandparents left their old neighborhood as urban decay set in... Later, as a widow, my grandfather moved to Florida where he enjoyed himself immensely.
Grandfather number 2 was a tailor and furrier who managed to get his young family out of Germany in 1938. A very quiet man who emphasized compromise and harmony in the family - yet insisted on keeping traditional Jewish practices even though his brothers had become less religious in the US.
I remember playing in his workroom with scraps of fur and fabric. It's amazing to think of in this age of Target, Gap, and other mass marketers - but back then people in working-class Brooklyn neighborhoods could have clothes made to measure. My grandmother was always well turned out - a walking advertisement.
This was the grandfather that led the Passover seder, and read the Yiddish newspapers. I'm sorry he didn't live to see us return to traditional Judaism - the thread frayed, but didn't break.
"He grew up on a farm in northern CT in a hamlet named after his (and my) family name"
I can't find Dog Connecticut. Where is it ?
On Mother's side was irascible Skinny, as he was called, from an old Pennsylvania Dutch family. One of ten children, he worked a poor farm with his even more irascible father, who refused to fix the bridge over the creek to the main country road. One day his sister drove the Model A across the bridge with my mother, then a small child, in the passenger seat, and the bridge collapsed. Skinny saw what happened, raced to the scene and in a burst of adrenaline lifted the overturned car from the water, freeing Mother and her aunt. He had a screaming fit with his tightwad father and soon after left the farm, moved to a college town and built houses. He became a gifted carpenter and reliable contractor, raised five kids and died at seventy eight. His unhinged populist rants made his church-going wife cringe, but they loved their whole family and created many fond memories.
On my father's side was World War I veteran chicken farmer, he completed high school, and built up a really nice poultry business, and kept the local bank afloat during the Depression so the locals didn't lose their savings. He had a quirky sense of humor and loved practical jokes. If they involved dynamite, electrical shocks, and terrified grandchildren waiting on the rail crossing in his old car while the train approached, so much the better.
He lost his business and his health, and died before I got out of grade school. A number of families in the small town still speak to me about how he helped their parents or grandparents during the desperate days of the Depression or a family crisis of some kind, so the old guy made a mark on those around him. He was an avid photographer and he saved a lot of local history details that would otherwise have been lost.
Ohh my Grandpa Jack--he was the best! Great blue eyes, a quiet carpenter, average height, full head of white hair. He had a wonderful dry sense of humor. He was actually my step grandpa. Grandma and my real grandpa divorced around 1920. Grandma worked 24/7 and finally saved enough money to buy a small old 3 story house. She kept it spotless inside (repainted the entire inside every two years herself, including the white woodwork). She took in roomers. First grandpa was a screaming union organizer for Ford. But, second grandpa--he was wonderful. Grandma was smart--she kept her ex and his new wife as part of the family. I grew up with both couples at the table every Sunday and every holiday. Never knew the difference. Grandpa Jack allowed only one person to come into his woodworking shop--me! Little old three year old me could come in there and he would ask "what would you like to build" and I would say a boat, or a church, or whatever was on my mind and we would build it! Great dignity great wit--he always took the last crust of bread and wiped his plate clean. He wrote one letter to anyone during the 40 years of life in our family. That letter was to me. I had written to him one time and said how much I missed them and I thought it was terribly mean of grandma making them move 2500 miles away. Grandpa Jack wrote back to me and said my grandma was a good woman and to not be too hard on her. I followed him everywhere. One night after I was divorced and holding down a job and taking care of my own little girl, and finishing my first degree, I was studying for a final exam. It was early in the morning about 3:00 AM. I felt him come behind my chair and pat me on the shoulder he said he was proud of me and not to miss him. I thought it was very strange, because I had just talked to him a week ago--he was not sick and there were no problems. About four hours later I got a call that he had died in his sleep. At that time they were living about 2500 miles away--but somehow Grandpa Jack came by to tell me he was proud of me. I knew that day that he had never let go of the little grand daughter he loved so much. Still miss him madly!
My maternal grandfather, above all, was a mensch.
He and a nephew were the only ones from that branch of the family who weren't murdered in WWII.
Arriving shortly before WWI, he met my grandmother, both from ByeloRussia.
They were tailors, with a shop off Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn, around the corner from the department stores. They worked six days a week from early to late. Somehow, grandma always managed to put out multi-course feasts for her children and grandchildren on all the Jewish holidays, and smaller ones every Friday night to welcome the Sabbath.
Once when I sat with my grandfather at High Holiday services, during an intermission, probably because I was fidgety, we went outside. There was a sad, partly drunk man. All avoided him except my grandfather, who went to him and they talked. He told my grandfather that hios life was in ruins and he was afraid to enter and ask forgiveness from G-d. My grandfather took him inside and sat with him.
Another time, the probation department asked my grandfather to hire a soon to be released prisoner. My grandfather did, despite fears other tailor shops had.
For ten years I sat with him almost every afternoon as he slowly succombed to Parkinson's Disease. It was my pleasure.
I was in Junior High when he died. Hundreds came to the funeral, all with stories about the mensch that was my grandfather.
I wear his ring, feeling honored, and have tried hard to be a mensch and live up to the good he created.
My mother’s father was born in Stowe, VT in 1906. I don’t know a lot of his history growing up, but he met my grandmother at the University of Rhode Is. They settled in southern New Hampshire, the last 50 years or so in Peterborough. My grandfather was a teacher and guidance counselor at a local high school. We lived in upstate NY, so I saw my grandparents on holidays and spent summers with them.
My grandfather was a simple man who reminded me of Jimmy Stewart. He wore khaki pants & short sleeved plaid shirts everyday throughout the summer. He tended a vegetable garden and fished for trout in the brook running through his wooded 6 acres of land. His hobbies included building and repairing antique clocks, tying fly fishing flies, and watching people from the car as my grandmother shopped (my grandmother didn’t drive). He taught me to play cribbage and would not let me win. After a few years when I started to win games, I wouldn’t let him win but it hurt me inside as I recognized him aging. He watched very little television on a 13’ black & white TV – usually the Boston Pops on PBS or the Boston Red Sox on the local channel. He liked to read.
My grandparents took my brother & I on a few short day trips during those summers. I remember visiting Steamtown in Bellows Falls VT, Calvin Coolidge’s birthplace, climbing Pack Monadnock, and visiting the Friendly Farm in Dublin, NH. The only time we spent the night away from home was when visiting other relatives.
My grandfather was smart & funny and loved me very much. He taught me appreciation of the simple things of life like the outdoor sounds of birds, crickets, and wind whispering through the tall pines of New Hampshire through his lifestyle alone. I try to imitate him today in my attempt to keep it simple.
Your grandfather kinda looks like Marcus Welby.
Your aunt, like June Allyson.
Great picture. Black and whites are the best!
Never knew my maternal grandfather. From memory, he was born in 1899 and died in 1947 in a military convalesence home due to lingering effects of mustard gas during his service in WWI.
Paternal Grandfather born in 1901. His first wife died, with no children from that marriage, as well. Hard, hard working man who never had more than a third grade education. He could not write his name. He started as a sharecropper and ended up owning ~300 acres through sheer sweat, intelligence and foresight. High native intelligence. He raised three sons and one daughter. He died in 1985.
can't say much but thanks for the post. my grandpa was great. taught us the important stuff (how to play cards and be nice to people) and today is my kids' "step-grandpa's" (deceased) birthday.
Your Grandfather sounded very much like mine. Born in 1907, graduated Johns Hopkins Med at 19. My sister and I used to ride with him on his doctor visits around Carlisle. I was 5 or 6 and she a year older than me. We used to supervise putting the payment in the trunk since it mostly consisted of chickens and roosters. We'd drive home and put them in the chicken coop.
My paternal grandfather was an army COL. His father, a Constable in Maryland, along with his brothers, shot a lawyer, not, unfortunately, thoroughly enough.
I'm grateful to God for taking my grandfather fishing shortly before he died. We caught a bunch of nice largemouth bass that day and he laughed and laughed about it. I was just a long haired punk at the time (a Conservative long haired punk, a la Ted Nugent before Ted became really cool), but my grandfather taught me many great life lessons while he was with us. And I'm eternally grateful to God for letting me give just a little bit back to my grandfather before he died. Rest In Peace Willis Cheney. I'm 53 now, and both parents and both grandparents have passed, but they did well in raising us kids with good values, good ethics, and a belief in a power greater than ourselves. God Bless 'em !
Something I wrote about a year ago.
I miss the old coot.
Rumor has it the Grandpa that I knew had two horses shot out from underneath him in WWI while he was serving as a captain. Less rumorish is that he was carted off to the hoosegow during prohibition for cooking up some bathtub gin. Memorable insofar as the paddies also brought in my ole man, aged 8. Grandma wasn't pleased.
I personally witnessed Gramps consistently achieving his Lenten obligations, which were to give up porterhouse steaks and French Champagne.
My grandparents lived 1000 and 2000 miles from where we lived, so I saw little of them, especially of my maternal grandfather, who died when I was 8. My paternal grandfather had a dry sense of humor, e.g., volunteering to wash the plates when Sunday dinners featured paper plates. Another example of his dry sense of humor: telling a work colleague “I can’t hear you” when the colleague was screaming in anger. (My grandfather was a bystander.)
There were always interesting things for kids to do at my paternal grandparents' house. Stilts. A miniature house outside, 3-4 feet tall, with miniature furniture, which my grandfather had built. An airplane cockpit in the barn- what a toy that was. He was patient with his grandchildren. When visiting as a child, I would pound the family organ when I got up early in the morning. My grandfather said nothing, but started sleeping in the wooden trailer he had built and designed himself in the 1930s. He was handy: an engineer without a degree. My cousin helped him dismantle a barn when he was in his late 60s, using nothing more than a car and a block and tackle. Before that, she didn’t think a girl could help take a barn apart.
Of my grandfather's seven grandchildren, four chose professions that were closely related to my grandfather's strengths: three engineers and one math teacher.
I never met my paternal grandfather - my father didn't allow him contact with us (mucho bad blood between them). All I know of him is that he was in the US Army during WWII, and he was not what you'd call an upstanding citizen.
My maternal grandfather died when I was young, probably third grade. Since my father met my mother when he was stationed in England during the Korean war, I never really got to see my grandfather much. My memories are of a short (although I didn't realize it at the time) man with a full head of white hair who held himself very erect. Apart from his name, all I really know about him is that he played cribbage and lawn bowled for enjoyment, and was in the Black Watch during WWI.
Sad to say I never met either of my grand fathers.
My maternal grand father died when mom was 5 or 6 so she has very little knowledge of him. On my paternal side, my grand father Lester (nicknamed Butch) died in the mid 1950s - about 5 years before I was born.
He was originally from Wisconsin and served as a medic in the Rainbow Division in France during WW I were is was gassed. He later was stationed in Germany as part of the occupation forces.
He went on to hold a number of grocery store jobs and ended up owning one in Hardin, MT (Thanks Butch for allowing me to be born a Montanan!). He moved to Great Falls in 1942 where my dad graduated on June 6, 1944. Dad eventually ended up fighting on Okinawa in the Spring of 1945.
Butch actually died from complications of the 1918 gassing on the Western Front. My dad always told me that Butch was absolutely thrilled when the Germans and Russians went at it in WW II as he despised both countries.
One more thing about Butch is that he also played the bugle and he would play Taps at the national cemetery at Custer's Battlefield on the Little Big Horn.
Sidebar: Dad had a friend that owned the property where Capt. Benteen attacked and retreated from the Sioux village. As kids they used to find all sorts of things from the battlefield. We never knew what happened to the stuff.
Great Grandpa grew up in Pittsfield Mass., where his dad was a newspaperman. When he graduated from college in 1871, he was recruited to teach school in Honolulu, so he took the 2-year-old transcontinental railroad to San Francisco, and then “the schooner” to Hawaii. In 1873, he returned to Boston to study law, and then back to San Francisco in 1876 to open his law office, relying on his Hawaiian contacts as well as the rapidly growing California markets for his clients.
My grandpa joined the firm in 1910, and greatly added to its clientele, but what was particularly memorable was his seemingly unlimited time he took to talk to the grandkids.
He was a published author in both history (assembling a large library in his life) and in local botany, and was also a founder of the Sierra Club (at that time a force for good). Although this greater-than-life renaissance man with the towering intellect made a fabulous grandfather, as is all too often true his sons seemed to feet they couldn’t compete.
We would spend a lot of time with him in the Summers. In his later years, the family didn’t like him taking long walks in the mountains alone, so one of the five grandsons or three granddaughters would draw “Grandfather Duty” and accompany him. He would discourse in (at-that-time-numbing) detail about the history of the state, and the giants of the 19th century he had known, yet not pass up a wildflower without giving its Latin and common names. I used to try “how about that tiny one next to it”, but never stumped him.
In the evenings, shielded by the flowers he had picked he would sneak extra helpings of ice cream for us (and himself) which our grandmother pretended not to see, and then smoke a cigar, blow perfect smoke rings, and sing rowdy ballads in a loud gravelly voice.
My grandfather was, to borrow one of history’s most misleading of phrases, a simple carpenter. Except for some sporadic efforts to feed his family during the Depression, he lived his entire life in the county of his birth. A soft spoken man, I never heard him raise his voice in either anger or gladness. I cannot say I ever even heard him laugh out loud, though to my young ears he conveyed appreciation as much with a sly smile and muted chuckle as many might with roaring laughter.
He seemed to know everyone in his corner of the world, tucked away in a rural county in the southwestern part of Virginia. On visits to town, he seemed to speak with all without seeming close to any. I cannot recall hearing an unkind word from him about anyone, and he was equally sparing with praise. But if he did express his approval of your latest triumph, you could bask in the knowledge that you must have indeed accomplished something. He was his own man, and seemed in some ways to be apart from the world he lived in.
As a small boy I recall the Sunday morning that he told me he’d been asked to preach. (He was a deacon in his church, and seemed to have been filling in for the pastor.) I was afraid for him, for the preachers I’d seen in that small country church grew louder and more wrought up as they progressed, usually completing their sermon almost yelling. And I knew that my grandfather couldn’t do that, and I feared for him that he would try and fail. My misgivings gave way quickly when he began to speak. He delivered a powerful message, in a quiet but strong voice. I became lost in his teaching, so much so that I did not notice until near the end that the entire congregation was silent. Looking around I saw a small sea of faces transfixed by his words. As was his custom, my grandfather had done what needed to be done, and he had done it his way.
Such occurrences were common enough, and formed a strong framework for the respect and affection I felt for him. But that did not prepare me for perhaps the last lesson he taught to me. At the end of his life a stroke robbed him of his vitality, leaving him housebound for perhaps two years. Knowing how sparsely populated his county was, how many of his peers had already passed on, and how long he’d been ill, I confess I expected a small turnout at his visitation and funeral. The fact of his passing on Fourth of July weekend only added to that concern, as I was sure that the children of his past friends would be more disposed to celebratory pursuits. Being amongst the eldest grandsons, and given my father's need to console and tend to my grandmother in her loss, it fell to me to greet those few who might stop by to pay their respects.
The visitation was held on a hot Saturday afternoon and evening, and during those hours I shook hands with hundreds of people. They were old and young, well off and struggling. They came from far and wide, representing nearly every state on the eastern seaboard. Some had driven through much of the night to get there. The word of my grandfather’s passing had spread from mouth to mouth, phone to phone, hundreds of miles beyond the horizon he call home.
They came to pay their respects, but they left me with something else. For almost every one of them, as I greeted them at the door, shared a story of some kindness my grandfather had shown them. Many times that day I heard how my grandfather had stepped into the lives of another at a time when they knew not what to do next. I saw men near to weeping, though they had not seen my grandfather for twenty years or more. But his passing had reminded them of some very dark corner of their life, and with that recollection was the memory of how my grandfather had provided them comfort when they needed it most.
As I sat in the hearse that next day I looked back on the cars stretching behind me farther than I could see on that little country road. And I tried to grasp the magnitude, perhaps even the majesty, of thousands of small kindnesses stretched over a lifetime. Twenty five years later, I am trying still.
I'm envious of the stories. I never knew my grandfathers. I was lucky enough to know 3 great-grandmothers, and I just hope I have their genes.