Memorial Day weekend is the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. My father’s father, who died years before I was born.
Growing up I don’t remember thinking much about my grandfather, it seemed kind of normal to me that I only had a Grandmama on my Dad’s side, plus I had my great grandparents too.
One of my most vivid memories of talking about my grandfather is my father showing me a picture of him, in sepia tone, laying on a pile of rocks when he was in the army, taking a nap. Then my Dad showed me a similar one of him, in a suit, sleeping on a bench. The men in his family could sleep anywhere, on any surface it seems.
In my mind I think because of this I attributed them as the same. What was my Grandfather like? Just like daddy I guess.
I’m also lucky that my family, like many I’m sure, loves to tell stories. Maybe no one more than Grandmama. Grandmama never ever gets tired of telling her stories, she tells them over and over again and the lines are always the same as if she wrote out a script of her life and has had it memorized ever since. Like the famous New Yawk Strudel story I told a few months ago: https://neuroticall.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/and-so-it-goes/
Some of the stories frankly seem like a convenient re-writing of history. Little details for enhancement.
This is totally off topic but I have to throw in one Grandmama story she likes to tell:
“This one time I was drivin on tha highway for work ya know and all the sudden I had ahhh..ahhh pain in my ass ok? The only way it felt bettah was to get out of the cah and wiggle it ya know? So I pulled over and I was tryin tah wiggle it and a policeman came ovah and he says to me he says “Ma’m you can’t do that here you can’t do that on the side of tha road!” HE THOUGHT I WAS A PROSTITUTE YOU KNOW?! I MEAN OH MY GAWD.”
Back to the task at hand.
I’ve compiled a character study of my grandfather based on the stories that have been told to me about him. When I was out to mother’s day brunch with Grandmama and my Aunt Marcia they told me a story about my grandfather that has stuck with me. I’m sure I will hear it 97,000 times but I wanted to put it here just in case.
When my cousin Talia was a baby my Aunt Marcia took her to visit my grandparents at their house. As a gift for the baby my grandparents had bought my Aunt and Uncle a stroller. But the stroller was big and bulky and when my Aunt brought Talia over to my grandparent’s house it was a pain to bring along with them. Grandmama had seen a flier for someone selling a used umbrella stroller and during this particular visit Grandmama and Aunt Marcia had planned to go see the stroller and maybe buy it so that they’d have an extra. When they told my Grandfather this he said:
“Didn’t we just buy them a stroller?”
It should be noted at this point in the story I relied on stereotype and assumed he was going to complain about spending more money cheap Jew blah blah blah.
Grandmama explained that yes they did just buy a stroller but they wanted to get an extra to have at their house.
My Grandfather said:
“Well is she second hand baby?”
No, my grandmother and aunt said.
“Then she won’t have a second hand carriage.” he said.