This is my grandfather. He had a huge impact on my life. My sister and I called him Pop-Pop. My favorite memories of my Pop-Pop were playing his organ, and receiving piano lessons from him. His pepperminty smell (he used peppermints to help him quit smoking), and the fact when we would visit on our birthdays that he would always greet us by playing Happy Birthday on the organ. I loved looking through his photo albums, and the fact that he kept such amazing albums of my sister and I. He called me "Petunia."
My grandfather was a scientist, and extremely smart.
He invented the propellant that is used in rockets, believe it or not, although he worked for a company at the time he did, so they are credited with the invention, while he is mentioned, but didn't quite reap the benefits they did...
My grandfather helped instill a love of discovery and knowledge in me. We had very few years together for this though, as he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I was about 6. After his diagnosis, he became very introverted (although he always was a bit quiet). Regardless though, I loved him deeply. I was always very connected to him...and as I got older, I continued to feel that connection. I always knew he was proud of me, and what I accomplished in life. He was the first to clip articles out of the newspaper when I was mentioned and that was one thing he continued, even as he fell deeper into the illness. It became obvious when it started to take hold of him, and was very hard for us. To see his brilliant mind become so confused...
My grandfather got sick one day and had to go to the hospital. He ended up having to stay a few days, but I didn't believe it was very serious, so I never went to visit him. One night we got a phone call and they told us he had very few hours left to live...there was a mistake on the hospital's part that resulted in his death, but I won't go into it in this post. I couldn't believe it. When we arrived at the hospital, he was in a coma. I went in to see him, so unsure of what to do. I held his hand, told him it was me, and how much I loved him. I firmly believe he squeezed my hand. He was a wonderful man.
When we were packing up our house when my mom moved, we came across some of the letters that my grandfather had written to my grandmother while he was deployed during WW1. I have those letters now and feel very lucky to have them. This is just one of probably close to 100 or so.
One day, I hope to use them in a book-type setting. To read them is just amazing to me. Unfortunately, I don't have any of my grandmother's letters back. I believe my mom told me that my grandmother might have thrown them away at some point. I'm not sure. But this piece of my family's past is something that I treasure having.
This post was a part of Memories on Monday at JAM's Own Reality. To see more posts, go visit her!