Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Grandparents' Day Letter

Dear Sooby, Pooh, Bootsie, Beenie, and Zoomba:

It will be a year next Thursday since your great-grandpa T died.  I have found some interesting things this past year while helping your great-grandma go through mountains of drawers and files.  The other day, I found a copy of something your mama (your aunt, Beenie) wrote about him in 1992 when she was in the fifth grade.  I vaguely remember her doing this as a school assignment to interview and write about a special person.

Because only Sooby and Pooh may really remember Grandpa T, I decided to copy most of what she wrote and give it a place here in Googie's Attic for you to read when you are older.  This way, all of you can know a little bit about the man your great-grandpa was.  Here is what she wrote:

                                                                A Simple Hero

[My grandpa] was born on a farm near Florence, Missouri on November 11, 1924. . . .  He was the middle child of six brothers and sisters. . . .

He didn't like school; sometimes he played hooky and went fishing.  He was raised during the Depression.  "Times was hard," he says.  During that time, his family raised everything that they ate, such as chickens, pigs, and cows.  They also grew many vegetables.

He and [my grandma] were high school sweethearts.  One time [she] threw a spitball and [he] took her whipping for her.  He graduated ("Thank goodness!" he says.) from Otterville High in 1943.  He married [Grandma] on March 3, 1945.

With no college education, he and his brother started an auto shop.  [Grandpa] worked by his own terms.  He wouldn't work on foreign cars because he didn't want to learn the metric system.  He didn't believe in advertising.  His garage blew away in the 1977 tornado.  He rented another building, and business continued.  He was a mechanic for 42 years, and in 1990, at age 65, retired and sold the garage.

In 1990, he began to have heart trouble.  His heart was beating too fast, and he ended up having triple bypass surgery at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City.  However, with proper medication and exercise he can still lead an active life.

He and his brother bought their home place when their parents died in the early 1960s.  Now he raises Hereford cattle and sells hay and calves in the fall.  He used to belong to the Rod and Gun Club, the Saddle Club, and the Coon Hunters Association.  For a while, he raised Palomino horses.  Now his hobbies are riding horses, hunting, and fishing.  His favorite TV show is Gunsmoke.

In June, 1952 he had a daughter [Hey guys, that's me--your Googie!].  In April, 1959 he had a son.  He now has four grandchildren . . . .

[Grandpa] is 68 years old.  He has white hair (if any) and wears glasses.  He is 6' 4" and weighs around 190 pounds.  He has a wonderful and eccentric sense of humor.  His philosophy is life is, always has been, and always will be written in the form of a poem:

     When the Great Scorer comes at last
     To write against your name,
     He'll write not if you won or lost
     But how you played the game.

[An aside by Googie:  Kids, I have to say this used to make me SO MAD when he would start reciting this.  It doesn't make me mad anymore.  While I have the floor here and before I type Cookie's conclusion, let me just say how much I appreciate what she wrote and how grateful I was to find it at this particular time.  This Grandparents' Day, it can serve to remind us how the simple life of an ordinary grandparent can touch a child.  And now, her ending:]

[Grandpa's] ideas have always been simple, but smart.  I'm very proud to call him Grandpa.

1 comment:

  1. I have tears. That was beautiful and thanks for sharing it. When Amara was just a tiny baby Grandpa Richard's Mom passed away. I sat down and wrote Amara a long letter about what she was like and about how important Amara had been to her in her last few months. I should do more of that! You set a good example!