I didn’t grow up in a family that did a lot of talking to each other. In fact it saddens me that I know so little about the history of my grandparents.
My grandmother’s mother (and maybe her father?) came from Denmark. My grandmother worked in the mill and my grandfather was a mailman. He also wasn’t a very good driver judging by the dents on the side of his car from all the mailboxes he’d hit over the years. I remember him showing off the gifts he’d get from his customers at Christmas.
He was a selectman for his little town in Massachusetts and he walked in the local parades. I remember that one time he was able take his grand-kids along with him and I had my one and only chance to be in a parade. It was great!
They’d had a son who was killed in the war – World War 2 I think- and his photo was in an oval frame hanging in the living room of their little farm house. He died before I was born and I was suppose to be a boy so I could be named after him (according to my parents.) Oh well.
I remember taking a hike with my sister and my grandfather up to Mill Hill, which was a place in the woods up behind my house. It was the coolest place with two steep hills of grass and a valley between . One side dropped down to the Mill -the reason for the name- and the other side, past the stone wall, sloped to a cow pasture and sand pit. It was my favorite place to be and I hiked there often in my childhood.
Anyway, we hiked up there one time and my grandfather was looking for a tree to use to make a cane. It had to be just the right size and shape at the root for making a handle and the tree had to be fairly straight of course as well.
He did find one and cut the tree and took the part home that he needed for the cane. I thought it was pretty cool (I was probably 8 years old) that my grandfather knew how to do that. I don’t remember him ever using a cane so I don’t know what he wanted it for except that he liked to work with wood and had a shop area in the upstairs of the big, old barn behind their house. I imagine that he gave it to a friend.
He was also a gardener. That is an understatement because his garden was huge. I can still picture him out there with his rottotiller going up and down the rows. My house was on a hill behind my grandparents house so we had a view of the entire garden at the foot of the hill. I grew up eating fresh vegetables of all kinds. How lucky was I? I didn’t know it of course.
My grandfather also liked to talk to us kids in rhymes. One I remember is:
“A dillar a dollar a ten-o’clock scholar,
what makes you come so soon.
You used to come at ten 0’clock
and now you come at noon.”
It didn’t make sense, but we’d laugh. He had others too, but I can’t remember them.
He’s been gone for a long time now, I grew up in the 60’s, and I regret not knowing more about him and my grandmother. I no longer have parents I can ask either. I am grateful for having them in my life as a child and my love of gardening and working with my hands comes from their influence I’m sure.
Do you have a special Grandpa?