My Grandfather

picgpaToday is Veteran’s Day. First and foremost, I’d like to extend a hearty thank you to every man, woman, and animal who has worked to keep us safe, both in our home towns and in other countries.

I thought I’d chat a bit about my Grandfather. I never got the chance to know him, as he died when I was about six months old. But Mom’s stories helped me know the kind of man he was.  He served in the Army for only about a year, being discharged due to “service no longer required”. WWI had ended. In fact, he got to France right around the day the Armistice was signed, so he didn’t have to fight, which I am personally glad for.

His discharge record says his character was “excellent” and his service was “honest and faithful.” I wonder, do they still list things like that on service records these days?  Grampa was a recipient of the WWI Victory Medal, given to all persons who served active duty overseas during the war. I used to love to get it out and stare at it when I was a kid. My mom still has that medal. 🙂

Beyond the war, though, Mom always said Grampa was a quiet man, except when it came to his mischievous sense of humor.  For example, he was driving home in one car while his brother was in the other one. Grampa took a different route and his brother never could figure out how Grampa made it home first. I gather Grampa never explained, either. He was always teasing the kids, too. One cousin of Mom’s still remember Grampa telling her Santa Claus fell off our roof. Hmmm. I guess that could have been pretty traumatic depending on her age at the time, which I’m not sure of.

Grampa  wasn’t demonstrative, so when he hugged you, it meant something, like when his mother died and my mom was crying. To this day, she remembers him putting his arms around her and comforting her.

He spent most of his post-war career working in sawmills, and a lot of that as a head sawyer. That’s the person who decides the best way to cut a log, to get the most out of it. The whole thing sounds pretty complicated to me, and I’ve seen a sawmill in action (compliments of my husband, the steam-mill, and steam-train freak). 🙂

One of eleven children, Mom calls him an “all around good guy.”  He loved his family, and his wife, and, in fact, passed away a short ten months after my Gramma. So I never really got to know him, except through Mom’s eyes. I’m grateful she’s shared stories of him with us. I think it’s important to remember where we come from. It helps guide us in deciding where we are going, right?

How about you? Do you have grandparent or veteran stories? We’d love to hear them.

Have a safe and peace-filled Veteran’s Day!

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25 responses to “My Grandfather

  1. What a lovely testament,Laurie; everyone was fortunate to have such a man in their lives. It is wonderful that his goodness is a lasting legacy.I am a strong advocate of people telling their family stories; I think the last several decades that has died out and it seems, only the bad survives.
    I love the picture! What a great uniform!
    Thanks for letting us in on the story of a good man.

    • Hi, Tonette. I completely agree with you that we need to tell our family stories. AND get them down in writing. Several years ago, I did heritage books for each of my siblings, interviewing aunts and uncles now passed so I had plenty of stories to include. It will be a priceless heirloom for them to hand down to their children. And I left several pages in the back for them to write their own stories. 🙂

  2. Heritage books sound like a great idea. A good Christmas present. My father was a story teller and I remember my brother and I begging for stories of him in an orphanage. They were happy stories and allowed us to know Dad as a little boy. They say your influence will last seven generations and I can certainly see my dad in the kids. Most dominantly in my daughter and son but to a lesser degree in the next generation.

    Our family has been fortunate to not have anyone in war until our Grandson who’s been deployed twice. I’m thankful to those who give so much to keep us safe. Veterans day is but one of the 365 days we need to remember them.

    • So now I know where your story-telling ability comes from, Lavada. I LOVE that your Dad liked to tell stories. And yes, I completely agree that we need to remember our vets 365 days a year. It’s neat that my hubby, when he sees someone in uniform, likes to walk right up to them and thank them for their service.

  3. What a lovely tribute. I was lucky to know my grandfather on my father’s side but on my mother’s side, my German grandfather died during WW2 and I never knew him except through little stories and anecdotes from my mother. We keep trying to persuade her to write down the family story from her side but she is reluctant, claiming no one would be interested, but we children are. We grew up with stories from both sides – English and German – in fact I know more about my mother’s father than about what my father did during the war as he would never talk about it. Brave men and boys on all sides and the tributes we pay, our respects, must never fade.

    • I like how you said that about how our tributes must never fade. I know more about my mother’s side of the family than my father’s side. Mom even typed up a document with a lot of her memories. (I love having a mother that can use a computer!). Dad, on the other hand, is not forthcoming with stories. I have to drag them out of them. So far, no skeletons, thankfully…or maybe he’s just not telling me THOSE stories. 🙂

  4. I’ve got no veteran’s stories to tell you, Laurie, but I enjoyed reading the stories you told about your grandpa!:)

  5. Sounds wonderful. I love a quiet man with a sense of humor. Some of my favorite men are like that. They’re all silent and then here comes the grin. He sounds like an awesome person. I’m glad your mom kept him alive for you.

    • I’m glad she did, too. 🙂 And that at least a few of the stories are written down for our kids’ kids to know.

      • I know I’ve told you this SO many times before, Laurie, but it bears repeating right now. “You are so fortunate,” that your mom kept the family history alive with you. 🙂

        Janette

      • I know. I give thanks each and every day. I know you are in the process of moving your mother closer to you, and I am hoping that is continuing to move along smoothly.

      • 🙂 Everything is moving right along – by God’s will. I’m flying down to TX tomorrow and flying back with my momma in tow Friday! The Care Center even has a room with a view waiting for her! I am so grateful there is a big window beside her bed that she can look out and be stimulated by outside activities, and I am so excited! 🙂

      • super! I think that’s so great

  6. Good luck, Janette. I hope it’s smooth sailing, er, flying…

  7. Sounds like your grandfather was a wonderful man, Laurie, nd you’ve paid him a very fitting tribute. I was very close to my own Gramps (my mother’s father) but sadly have only the vaguest memory of my paternal grandfather who died when I was a toddler. My dearest Gramps served in the desert during WW2 but he never really enjoyed talking about it. When he did, it was mostly to AJ,to whom he bequeathed his medals. AJ was very moved and we arranged to have them mounted and put in a frame which now has pride of place in hubby’s study.

    • Ahhh, that was a very sweet thing for your Gramps to do for AJ. I’m so glad you had time to get close to your grandfather. I did know my paternal grandfather, but he died when I was 10, so my memories are faint.

  8. Valerie J. Patterson

    Really enjoyed your blog, Laurie. Your mom did for you what my mom did for me. I was 4 when her dad died. I remembered certain things about him, like his great big laugh and his pure white hair, even though he was a mere 57 when he died. She spoke of him often and so my memories never faded.

    I’m glad you had the opportunity to “know” him even though you never really knew him. He sounds like he was a remarkable person.

    My brother serves in the military currently, and I have several family members who’ve served or are currently serving. I love that sentiment of thankfulness and honor pour freely on Veterans Day and Memorial Day and the 4th of July, but the truth is, our service members deserve that every day of the year.

    • AMEN to your thoughts on the military Valerie. Both my boys are in the military right now.

      • Valerie J. Patterson

        Tell your sons I said “Thank you for your service!” Even though at times it seems our own government isn’t as grateful as it needs to be for our selfless men and women serving to protect our nation, there are may Americans who realize the sacrifice they make. I pray your sons stay safe during their tours of duty.

      • Thank you, Valerie. I will pass your words on. 🙂

  9. Valerie, I’m tipping my “thankful” cap to your family for all the service they’ve done. And I couldn’t agree more. We need to show our appreciation day in and day out.

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