My Grandad was born in a region of Southern Illinois known as “Little Egypt” in 1928 on December 31st. His parents enjoyed the silent films of the era and my brother and I believe Grandad was named after a silent movie star.
I could honestly say, this post is brought to you by the generosity of my Grandad, a few years ago he helped me buy my laptop and when I got married, he paid for my Nikon D3100.
Grandad worked hard his whole life. He left Illinois at 17 to join the Army – after his enlistment was up he went back to southern Illinois for a short time before turning around and joining the Air Force, he never went back, except to visit.
It was a good thing he left – the Air Force took him all over the world – including England, where he met his lovely bride and my Nana.
Just like out of an old movie, Grandad was in the hospital in England to have his appendix taken out. One afternoon, Grandad went down to another wing of the hospital to visit another GI buddy. This buddy of his had an English girl coming around to visit him and she was bringing a chaperone. This chaperone was a sixteen year old English Rose and my future Grandmother.
This is the part of the story that Grandad likes to say, “I gave a part of myself to have her.” He also likes to say he, “captured her.” Which is nice, because my husband says he captured me.
Grandad has recorded his life for his posterity and is in the process of having copies made for all of us.
There were some hard things for me to understand about Grandad – when we came to visit his house – he never let us grandkids sleep on the floor – for some reasons we always slept on the floor at home instead of our beds – so when we went to his house to visit – we all HAD to sleep in beds.
What I learned later, from my Nana, was Grandad being the oldest of seven children had to sleep on floors or crammed into small pallets in their tiny home in southern Illinois. They were poor farmers in hard economic times. My Grandad and his brothers were entrepreneurs – hauling water to people, selling berries or any other way they could find to make some money.
Those life experiences have made him and his generation a generation of gratitude. I don’t believe that my generation really knows what it means to “go without.” I don’t know what it means to “go without.” I see a lot of entitlement and it makes me grateful that I have had a good relationship with my grandparents and the opportunity to learn from their life experiences.
Put your cell phones down when you are visiting grandma and grandpa – ask them questions about their life – it is more interesting and entertaining than you think.
Thank you for taking the time to tell your stories Grandad. I love you, Happy 84th Birthday today!