Monday, December 7, 2009

"I enclose the latest product of my fevered brain." - Grandpa

My grandfather died a week and a half ago. It didn't really hit me til yesterday, when I couldn't stop crying, that he was gone.

Even after we'd spent Friday after the funeral sitting around the living room, reading through his files. Grandpa left 2 boxes of files, immaculately organized, in which he kept copies of every letter he'd ever written. He was a letter writing sort of man, so there were a lot:

There was a letter to the church that married him and grandma. He wrote it a year after her death. He said he was thankful they'd married him, and they ought to know he and his wife had stayed happily married for 64 years before she died.

There was a letter to my mother as a freshman in college, on why it was inappropriate to wear short skirts. He gave 10 reasons.

There was a letter to Curley, my cousin, whose room was apparently a mess: Grandpa admonished "a messy room is a sign of a deranged mind."

Grandpa was supposed to die about 4 years ago, when he was diagnosed with kidney failure and refused treatment. Instead, he moved in with my parents, and lived.

He wrote letters to his congressmen. After watching some Senate hearings and getting upset about John McCain badgering witnesses, something he felt a Senator was not supposed to do, he wrote a letter to McCain, asking him not to run on the Republican ticket, as he didn't want to waste his vote.

He went down to the King County Jail on Monday nights and hung out with men in prison.

I took him to see his sister June in Florida after he said he wanted to see her and make sure she was okay before he died. We flew to Pensacola and drove to Mariana. Grandpa told me all about the local history on the way.

He felt bad for stealing some chocolate bars from the Army supply truck when he was stationed at Guadalcanal in World War II. So in August, he sent a letter apologizing and a check for $50.00 to the Army.

He played pinochle with mom and dad, and sometimes the boys.

He told the Covington City Council that in a city in which the median income was $90,000, they ought to be able to afford to keep garbage off the streets.

And he told stories.

He told me once that he'd written Grandma love letters when he was courting her, but he'd signed them "Your Secret Admirer." And then he didn't tell her it was him til after she'd married him, since he was worried she wouldn't marry him.

He told my father about the time he'd argued a case all the way to the Supreme Court and won. It had something to do with roofing, and he'd memorized the roofing code. All of it.

He told me once (while I was wearing a skirt, I might add) that I should wear dresses to attract a man. In the same breath, he said the man I married better be a king.

I'm gonna miss him.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I've always loved the posts you've written that were inspired by something your he said. I would always think, "Greta has an awesome grandpa."

I'll be thinking of you in the days ahead.