Thursday, November 06, 2008

Another Loss

They say bad things come in threes. My still-young aunt passed away last summer, and I got news last night that my grandpa died. Can the election be considered the third, or should I be on guard still?

My grandpa died at home, apparently in his sleep. I am grateful for this, as his greatest fear was having to live in a nursing home, or languishing with some disease of the mind.

He was Gi-gi's husband for 38 years, before he decided that was enough.

He lived about four blocks from her, and about three blocks from his childhood home.

He was a gentle soul, perhaps not a strong man, but it's hard to say how much of that was his nature and how much was necessary being married to the original feminist. :)

He served in the Pacific in WWII on a battleship, in the boiler room I believe. After the war, he returned home and at some point got a job with a railroad. Another man was hired on five minutes later. After some months, the railroad was going to promote my grandpa and let the other guy go, because grandpa had 'seniority' (even if it was only five minutes' worth). The other man had a family, so grandpa resigned on the spot. He was a good man. He met my grandma while he was working for Plant Services at the local hospital. She was a young nurse who rode her bike to work and therefore wore *gasp* pants. The (Catholic) hospital administrators asked her if she wouldn't please wear a skirt, to which she replied, "well, it'll fly up when I ride my bike to work and my underwear will show, but okay." They relented.

One day, after her night shift (this sometime in 1948), she found her bike tire flat. She was directed to plant services, to "Jim," for help. He also worked nights. She walked her bike around, saw the young man, and said, "I need a tire pump to air up my tire."

He turned and retrieved one and walked to her bike, ignoring her outstretched hand.

She: "I didn't ask you to air it up, I just asked for the pump."

He: "Do you want me to air up your tire, or wrap this thing around your neck?"


And so it began, a not-happily-ending story that, for my sake at least, I'm grateful happened anyway.

Gramps, I'm sorry I didn't see you more often. I was getting ready to send you another batch of pictures, and a letter, and I'm sorry I didn't do it sooner. I hope you can see your precious great-grandkids, or at least know you're missed. I hope you voted.

No comments: